Branson Parks Among City Departments Working Around Budget Cuts

by: Jacob  Blount, Ozarks First

Branson has released a 2020 Fiscal Health Update that details budget cuts to multiple city funds, including for local parks.

For most places in Branson, it has been a balancing act

“You know, kind of a combination of being safe, and also finding a way to do it financially,” Branson Parks Director Cindy Shook said. “And so, those are some things I think we are all looking at in Branson right now.”

Branson Parks Director, Cindy Shook, explains how she’s balancing her budget while keeping the parks looking nice for the community.

“We’re finding a way to kind of still maintain our parks and still cut our grass,” said Shook. “We may be cutting a little bit less, but we’re finding a way to keep things looking good for our community and pick up trash, and landscape and all those things. And that’s really important.”

Shook has already canceled their day camp program and is looking at changing other programs.

“The guidelines with the CDC doesn’t really allow for a great experience at our day camp this summer,” said Shook. “So, we’re really working through all of our programs.”

Liliana Smiley says her family loves to come to the park, and it has always been maintained well.

“Even like the people who come here, they pick up their own mess too,” Smiley said. “That’s why we like to come to this one especially because it’s cleaner.”

She says she appreciates the park workers who give her family a great place to play.

“Everybody that’s involved in parks and recreations here in Branson, they’re all really helpful and I just love them all,” Smiley said.

Even with a lower revenue stream and these new tax cuts, the Branson Recplex is getting creative. They started teaming up with different public partnerships and even this last week they were able to combine efforts to bring new pickleball courts.

The Branson general fund budgeted to the parks fund will be reduced by $250,000 in this fiscal year.

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