by: Chrystal Blair, Ozarks First
The sky is the limit in Branson — as the issue of Gondolas is back on the table.
Two years ago, the city formally agreed to allow “American Gondola’s” to proceed with plans — with the understanding that the city would not entertain competitors for the project.
Representatives from American Gondolas were in Branson last week with a revised alignment plan and terminals.
Under the plan, the Gondolas’s would run along the 76 Highway corridor with two end points — one at the Branson Landing and the other at the intersection of Shepherd of the Hills and 76.
“I think as long as they try and keep the alignment as close as possible to the 76 corridor it could make a lot of sense,” said Joel Hornickle, Director of Branson Planning and Development:
Hornickle said their would also be six or seven terminals along the way.
“That seems to be the real big topic at this point…. trying to figure out how they get from the downtown out to the western city limits and what businesses or properties they may affect, ” Hornickle said.
The cost of the project is roughly 160 to 200 million dollars, which would be privately funded.
“It comes down to money,” said Hornickle, “As with a lot of projects, especially with this one.. the fact that as they pointed out to us.. they are trying to find all the dollars necessary to do the projects on their own.”
City officials are planning a future public forum on the issue. Residents KOLR 10 spoke with, like the idea of Gondolas in Branson.
“I’d say maybe do a small short section and see how that works and then add to it if they can later on,” said Kenny Parrott of Hollister.
“I don’t have any problem with it,” said Donna Gloyd,” of Branson, “Whatever is best for the city and the people that come and the visitors.”
Bob Gibson of Branson, thinks the Gondolas will also serve a recreational purpose.
“Once people get to know about it, they’re going to ride it just for the fun of things,” Gibson said.
Hornickle believes as long as they keep the Gondolas as close to the 76 corridor as possible, it makes sense.