Brendon Tristal Impromptu FB note to Raise Branson (by BT):
I could write a small book on this… this cycle is destroying the city of Branson… there is no local economy that is self-sustainable, and businesses and housing for the locals are completely disparate from those of the tourists that come by during tourist season… this is class warfare at its finest! We have people who are living off of state and county taxes (food stamps, medicaid, unemployment, etc.) on or below the poverty line, who then become unemployable, or turn to crime, or just leave Branson altogether. Then the workforce for the tourist season is imported. It seems more like a theme park (think Disney) that should be closed during Jan – Mar completely, because the only people that live here don’t really contribute to the local economy unless they are retired or work in construction service for businesses that run during the operating season (and there are plenty of hotels/motels to house migrant workers) – thus, the housing (much of it originally built as “timeshares”) and all real estate value has sharply dropped. Driving through town, even before the tornado on 76, you get the impression of a ghetto, or a poorly planned, unfinished project that has been abandoned, and the businesses downtown and on the strip were just sort of grandfathered into existence. I live right here in Branson, and I know a thing or two about how the local economy works, and I completely agree that it needs to be fixed. There is no strong workforce of specialists who live in the area, because 1. there are no mainstream employers’ HQ here, and 2. there are no real colleges here (for working students, which would dually sustain a local population and supply chain, while bringing in funds (see 3.) and “sprawl”, and 3. would allow a more seamless integration with a major portion of full-time Branson residents: those who do not work (due to retirement, disability, etc.) … We have so much beautiful potential, particularly with the Table Rock and other lakes… I see a huge untapped market. The infrastructure is there, tho it may need some work of course… The land is there, and the housing is available. Areas like Lampe, Forsyth, and others are loaded with land that can be used for serious manufacturing and other industrial jobs (as opposed to meth labs).
Of course, there are many difficulties that must be overcome: To name just one, TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT. I’d guess many of these roads were originally built – or not even built, per se – but came into being as horse and game trails. Many roads are extremely dangerous as well. None of this is insurmountable, however. But the choice remains ours: Will we let Branson flounder along, or CAPITALIZE ON IT and its history through ‘branding’ – particularly honoring our veterans, and MODERNIZING a lot of old, worn-down areas and businesses where needed – on a case by case basis, where many cases might call for the preservation of Branson’s history.
I could go on and on, but this is all relatively common sense. The economy is definitely affecting the spending habits and budgets of consumers and end-users… Is Branson a tourist town, a tourist TRAP, or just a quiet place people move to to visit and live where the CPI (consumer price index) makes someone who is retired on a lifelong New York city pension seem like a millionaire?
The answer to that question, and how we address the issue, will ultimately determine the fate of Branson.
Brendon Tristal, Branson resident since 2010