On November 5, lake residents in all three counties will be asked to vote either for or against an increase in lodging tax to fund a proposed eight-field soccer tournament complex in Osage Beach. Though many forums have been held to share information on the subject, the views expressed by lake residents and businesses alike vary on the importance of this project. In order to view the various opinions of people around the lake, we reached out to a number of business leaders to get their perspectives.

On November 5, lake residents in all three counties will be asked to vote either for or against an increase in lodging tax to fund a proposed eight-field soccer tournament complex in Osage Beach. Though many forums have been held to share information on the subject, the views expressed by lake residents and businesses alike vary on the importance of this project. In order to view the various opinions of people around the lake, we reached out to a number of business leaders to get their perspectives.

Dave’s Hideaway - Owner Tim Arnold

Tim Arnold, owner of Dave’s Hideaway in Camdenton, was initially for the project, but changed his mind after some discussion. Arnold says that the local economy should see a boost through the added tourism and believes the CVB will do their best with the work being done, especially towards extending business in the offseason. However, Arnold’s main issue is difficulties surrounding his own business.

As a small hotel, Arnold says that he keeps the rooms filled most days and doesn’t see the added hotel business as something that would help Dave’s Hideaway to a great degree. Though he sees the lake gaining tourists on the whole, he thinks the added taxes will result in expensive room nights.

Personally, Arnold says that he has faced issues with the city of Camdenton in allowing him to expand his cabins and business as a whole. Until local officials allow him to add more space in a simpler manner, the increased visibility and tourism in the area will have little effect.

Lakeview Resort - Owner Jake Drake

Jake Drake, owner of Lakeview Resort in Sunrise Beach, will be voting against the project. For him, it mostly comes down to the location of his business. With the project being housed in Osage Beach, Drake doesn’t think the benefits coming from the added tax will be beneficial to the west side. Add in the cost of travelling over the toll bridge, the trickle down effects of the potential hotel stays is not enough for his vote.

He does, however, see the potential benefit in the exposure it would bring to the lake. He says he could see families taking interest in the area after a tournament and possibly returning, leading to added local commerce.

Overall, Drake sees the heaviest burden being placed on lodging establishments while other businesses (restaurants, gas stations, etc.) reap the benefits without and consequences. Drake says the resort would consider opting in to the play-and-stay model if it was positively aligned with the slower weekends of the year.

Margaritaville/Tan-Tar-A - Carl Clark, Hotel Controller

Carl Clark, Hotel Controller of Margaritaville, says the management team is for the project. He says that the funding mechanism of increased the lodging tax is the best way to ensure residents don’t get stuck with a tax payment increase.

For Margaritaville, Clark says he believes the project will give their business a boost, but that isn’t the main element as to why they are for it. He acknowledged that they will likely see an increase in room nights, but as a resort that mainly offers large group amenities, their approval of the project mostly comes down to brings something to the lake that will benefit it as a whole.

Clark says Margaritaville plans to promote the project and wants residents to be aware of what’s going on. They plan to take part in the play-and-stay model whenever they have rooms available that will work well for families travelling to the area. Overall, he sees the complex as a big boost to local business.


Tucker’s Shuckers, Paradise Tropical Restaurant and Bar, Franky and Louie’s Beachfront Bar and Grill - Owner George Tucker

George Tucker, owner of several lake restaurants ranging from Sunrise Beach to Lake Ozark, says he is for the complex. Because of the numbers presented at local forums and meetings on the subject, he feels confident that more tourists will be present on the shoulder seasons. (Estimated team totals per weekend range from 50-300.) Tucker says the lake thrives off tourists and having more money spent at the lake is a good thing.

Even so, he’s not sure the complex will affect his businesses. Because the aim is to highly affect the shoulder seasons with soccer play, he sees it helping the lake as a whole but not as much personally. As for whether or not he plans to promote the project, he provided no comment at this time.

Great Stone Coffee - Owner Will Runyon

Great Stone Coffee owner Will Runyon is in a unique position with this project, as his business lies just a few miles from the projected building site off of Nickels Rd. Though he has had time to think on the subject, he is still unsure of his position.

Runyon says he has taken part in a number of meetings surrounding the project and has read the feasibilities studies. After this, he has come away with many thoughts. He says that of course he sees a major benefit to the business Great Stone would see. In fact, he’s almost concerned that it may outweigh his ability to staff the cafe. Runyon’s biggest issue with the plan is the management of traffic in the area. Though there are plans to increase roadways between Nickels and KK, he is still not sure that this will be enough to fight the large influx of cars coming through the area on any particular weekend.

He says he and the business will remain neutral on the subject until the vote, but he still wants to provide the space for people to discuss. He hopes groups across the lake will find time to really talk about the potential upsides and downsides of the project before the November vote.


Mr. McCheezy’s Pizza - Owner Sam Georgopoulos

Mr. McCheezy’s Pizza owner Sam Georgopoulos was not aware of the upcoming vote. However, after being run through the various aspects of the project, he says that the added lodging tax is a concern. As someone who considers himself very politically savvy, it concerned him that he was not aware of the issue, leading to the belief that not enough has been advertised on the subject.

Even so, he does see a potential benefit to his business if the project is approved. He says he is for anything that will help the community and not cost him. He hopes to look into the specifics more and base his vote after learning as much as he is able.

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In an independent poll, the Lake Sun also asked the community through an online Facebook poll to share their thoughts on the vote. With simple options of yes or no, the poll received (t the time of reporting) 714 votes, 428 in favor and 286 against.

Residents around the lake were then asked to provide comments to support their opinion. Here are some of the responses received:

“Why would be put the tax money in soccer fields that draw families with young children.St. Louis and Kansas City already have well established leagues and a hundred things more to do 9 months out of the year for families,the lake can’t offer. Automatically we are competing with the big cities for such events.Why are we putting this tax in the hands of outsiders who should pay for this themselves, if it’s such a great idea.And why are we giving this many millions of dollars to one sport when the tax should already go to roads etc... I have kids and they play sports.I know how much fun it is.But this will not bring the money they say.” -Julie ET

“The data behind most of these types of projects is very suspect and rarely if ever come to fruition. If this project makes actual sense, then private dollars would be lined up to invest. The baseball tournament project sure worked out well.” Jeffery A.

“It has been talked about on KRMS with KB....The biggest argument is that people Morgan or Miller County do not feel the need to tax their lodging for this complex. I know it can bring more people to the lake, but will it really help the northern counties?” -Chris J.

“I'm in favor of any project that will keep our children off the streets and be a place of safety for them.” -Micahel A.

“I went to a meeting. In the pamphlet the figures were based on 300 teams but during the meeting one of the individuals who works for the company that created the study and numbers said realistically the draw to the fields would more likely draw 160 teams. I thought that drastically changes that 75 million touted as market profit. After thinking about it what if the 160 number is over-rated, and how irresponsible it would be to pass a tax hike on numbers that can’t be verified.” -Nancy S.