A company with plans to makes gondola’s a tourist attraction in southwest Missouri’s Branson has made another pitch for its idea to the city.
Two years ago, the city formally agreed to allow “American Gondolas” 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 would run along the 76 Highway corridor, the roadway along which much of Branson’s attractions are located, with two endpoints.
One terminus would be in Branson Landing near the city’s downtown while the other would be at Shepherd of the Hills, a landmark outdoor theater to the west.
“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 there 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, 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 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.
Branson has been approached with numerous proposals for tourist attractions in recent times.
The city rejected a plan that involved a large tax break to developers of a proposed $446 million water park and resort.
The Branson Board of Aldermen voted 5-1 against the incentives in April.
Missourinet media partner KOLR-TV provided this story