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Old 01-09-2004, 03:22 PM   #1
OkieAnon
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branson landing - downtown?

haven't heard anything about this in a couple of months

anything happening?

if we could drive downtown, would we see any construction at all?
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Old 01-09-2004, 04:06 PM   #2
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No construction downtown yet. I just saw an article in the newspaper. I'll have to see if I still have it.

You can find out a lot about the Landing project at the City's website

http://www.cityofbranson.org/Landing/BransonLanding.htm

I've got so much to fill you all in on! I need more time!!!!

It looks like the Branson Airport is gaining momentum, I just read an article about the city looking into mass transportation and there is a lot of construction going on around town. Shows are moving all over the place and Branson Mom needs to write an update really bad!!! Lol!!!
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Old 01-09-2004, 05:10 PM   #3
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Branson Mom,

As far as mass transportation goes, are you talking about busses or planes?
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Old 01-09-2004, 11:02 PM   #4
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The mass transportation I was talking about is along the lines of busses, monorail, etc. The article said something about them getting a grant to do some sort of study. I'll try to find the article.
Branson does have an Airport in the works and my understanding is that when complete the airport runways will be able to support a 737.
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Old 01-10-2004, 03:36 PM   #5
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Woo Hoo!

I can't wait for that airport! Branson is so hard to get to from here. Not even an interstate for most of the way and if you fly, you end up in Springfield and still have to drive. Last time I flew it took me 10 hours to get to my destination. When we drove, it took 12...and one speeding ticket...



Please keep us updated if you hear any more news.

Thanks!
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Old 01-10-2004, 08:05 PM   #6
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I haven't looked through my newspapers to find the article, but here's their website.

http://www.bransonair.net/
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Old 01-10-2004, 08:12 PM   #7
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Article from the Springfield News-Leader

Published January 4, 2004

Branson could get airport by 2005

By Kathryn Buckstaff
News-Leader Staff

Branson Creek The Branson Regional Airport is taking off.
Seven contractors have submitted bids for the $70 million facility, and one will be selected within the next three weeks.

Groundbreaking is set for spring with America's first privately financed commercial airport opening in late 2005, said Rod Murphy, president of Branson Regional Airport Authority Inc.

Set atop 900 acres of cow pasture 10 miles south of Branson off U.S. 65, the airport will have a runway as long as one of Springfield's two runways. Two national airlines are interested in providing low-cost flights to major hubs including Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

Some have expressed skepticism about the airport. While planners say getting the money will not be an issue, the financial institution that will issue the $115 million in bonds to investors for construction and first-year operations has not been finalized.

Still, Springfield developer John Q. Hammons said it's going to happen.

"I've been in on discussions for three years with them about condos and other developments," Hammons said. "I've been involved in studying the project and, as time moves along, most representations and improvements are now taking place."

The man behind the project is Florida magazine mogul Glenn Patch. In 1993, he bought the 7,000-acre cattle ranch that now includes Branson Creek Golf Course, the Oak Knoll subdivision, greenspace and land for the airport. The ranch was owned for a few years in the 1970s by country singing idol Tennessee Ernie Ford.

"I wouldn't have started (the airport) with doubts," the 61-year-old Patch said in a telephone interview Friday from the California desert where he was riding motorcycles.

The rumor has been that Patch purchased the land on behalf of the Disney corporation.

"At one time, I was thinking about putting Mickey Mouse on the tail of my plane when I flew in and out of there," Patch said. However, he adds: "I'm not partners with Disney or Donald Trump or anyone else. It's all mine."

Patch said the airport will complement a downtown convention center planned by city officials.

"I've talked to people who own convention centers, and they've told me there aren't enough buses in Missouri to bring 5,000 or 10,000 people to the convention center from Springfield," Patch said. "It'll give Branson a whole new demographic. Instead of people having a few dollars to buy T-shirts for the kids, they'll come in with enough money to spend on theaters and hotels and restaurants."

That matches the goals of Branson officials. A planned convention center is expected to extend Branson's season through the winter months and help cut the unemployment that, in a work force of 34,000, climbed to 20.4 percent last January. Initially, the airport will employ about 175 people in services from rental cars to airline counters, Murphy said.

Business owners also are trying to attract younger, more affluent and first-time visitors. The planned $300 million Branson Landing lakefront development is expected to offer upscale shops, restaurants and entertainment.

The airport will be a boon to both projects, said Branson City Administrator Terry Dody.

He said all three feasibility studies on the convention center and Landing predict success.

"But they all note that the absence of an airport in the area is a hindrance," Dody added. "We all understand that the drive to the Springfield airport takes about the same time as getting from (Kansas City International Airport) to downtown Kansas City. But there's still that perception when someone hears that the nearest airport is 45 miles away."

Also over the past few years, Branson tourism officials have tried to attract the international market, even traveling to trade shows in Europe. But air transportation has always been a problem when international visitors fly to major U.S. hubs with no direct connection to Branson.

A new airport "would put us in an entirely different league than we are in right now," said Ross Summers, director of the Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce. "It would elevate us from a regional destination to a truly international destination. Despite the fact that we are centrally located, there are those who just wouldn't drive here."

The groundwork

Progress on the airport has moved steadily forward:

The project has twice gained air space approval from the Federal Aviation Administration. Planners had to reapply after relocating the runway 100 feet farther west to save on rock removal cost.

This fall, airport planners got approval from the Taney County Commission to establish a transportation taxation district for the airport property. Fees charged for landing, hangar space and subtenants operating on the site will repay the tax-free private bonds. When the bonds are retired in about 40 years, the airport will be turned over to the county.

At times, presiding commissioner Chuck Pennel thought the airport might be so much talk. But he's watched Branson Creek take shape.

"I'm optimistic that it'll happen," Pennel said of the airport. "I can't see anything except it being good for the entire area, bringing more people to town and the service it will offer the people here already."

The bonds will be offered to private investors within three months, Murphy said.

"I have no doubts about getting the money," Patch said. "It's like everything else. You don't start spending it until the money is in the bank. But everything looks positive."

Proof of intentions

Following the path Patch announced in 1995, he has spent more than $30 million putting in 2? miles of paved roads with curbs and gutters, a 500-foot-long bridge over Turkey Creek, and a water and sewer system to accommodate 800 homes with underground utilities.

With other investors, Patch opened Branson Creek Golf Club in 2000. That year, the 18-hole, Tom Fazio- designed course was named among the top 10 new golf courses in the country by Golf Magazine and Golf Digest.

Now, the first two houses have been built in the upscale Oak Knoll subdivision 2? miles north of the airport. Residents look east to the golf course or north 10 miles to the bright lights of Branson.

"Branson Creek has been an enigma in the minds of most people who thought nothing was happening," said Steve Critchfield who with fellow Realtor Donna Moon is marketing the Oak Knoll subdivision. "Now we're ready to go to the next step in a way people will understand."

The progress was enough to convince Springfield builder Bill Killian to bid on the airport job. His bid in partnership with Walsh Construction of Chicago came in second lowest. The lowest bidder is United Contractors Midwest in Springfield, Ill.

Preparing the bid required an investment, Killian said.

"We don't just do this on a whim," Killian said. "We did our due diligence to make us feel comfortable enough that it was worth the risk to pursue it. I know Glenn Patch, and I know he would not be involved if he wasn't confident he could put something together."

The first skeptics Patch and his planners converted were members of the Taney County Board of Appeals, who in 1995 approved first-phase plans for 3,300 of the acres.

Chris Hall, planning director at the time, said the presentation was the best he's seen in adhering to the county's planning regulations.

Environmental studies included preservation of caves and historical landmarks including the stone foundation remnants of Melva, a small town destroyed by a tornado in the late 1920s.

Competition

Three firms including Sabre Consulting of Minneapolis provided market analysis.

"What they've shown is that there are already over 250,000 people flying to Branson in one way or another through Kansas City, Springfield, Tulsa and Fayetteville and then driving for part of their trip," Murphy said. The company will spend $1 million in marketing over the next two years to let those passengers know they have a closer option, Murphy said.

Those connected to the Springfield-Branson Regional Airport say they're not worried. And they're still skeptical the airport will be built.

The stats are comparable. Branson Regional Airport will have a 7,140-foot runway, long enough to accommodate most commercial airliners. The runway layout allows for 1,000 feet of expansion. The Springfield-Branson Regional Airport in Springfield has two runways, 7,000 and 8,000 feet.

Branson Regional Airport's terminal will open with four gates but could expand to 15. Springfield's airport has 10 gates with two more to open soon, said spokeswoman Sherry Wallace.

Todd Parnell serves on the boards of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce and the Springfield airport. Neither entity has taken an official position on the Branson airport since it is to be privately funded, he said.

"We've invested public funds heavily, and it is the Springfield-Branson Regional Airport," Parnell emphasized, "and we have ambitious plans to make it the best airport around. If the airport in Branson is successful, we will end up competing for business, but I'm not sure what that will mean."

From his position as president of The Bank, "we're in favor of regional economic development, whatever is constructive and preserves our momentum."

Changing markets

Commercial airlines are attracted to markets with business travelers, which account for about 70 percent of the 700,000 passengers who fly into Springfield each year, said airport director Rob Hancik. Only about 15 to 20 percent of passengers plan to spend at least one night in Branson.

"I would question the financial stability of this project which will be built in a seasonal tourism market," Hancik said. "If, in fact, there had been huge demand or ability to develop demand for large numbers of leisure air travelers into Branson, we tried to do that."

In conjunction with Apple Vacations last year, the airport operated two 170-passenger aircraft twice a week from Philadelphia. The service was discontinued because of low demand, Hancik said.

The airport is planning to build a new midfield terminal at a cost of $80 million to $100 million to be completed by 2009, Hancik said.

But two new factors could boost the Branson airport's appeal: the convention center and the growing number of local golf courses. There are six major golf courses in the Branson area with another planned for Branson Hills north of town.

That hardly compares with the Myrtle Beach, S.C., market, which has 120 courses along the 60-mile "Grand Strand" tourism area. But this winter, with tourism numbers flat at many destinations including Branson, the number of golfers rose 11 percent, "directly related to the airline market," said Stephen Green, spokesman for the Myrtle Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Ninety-five percent of their 13 million annual visitors come by car; 80 percent of Branson's 7 million drive. Still, the Myrtle Beach airport is served by eight national carriers. The Springfield airport has four carriers. And in Myrtle Beach, there are plans for a $180 million, local-state partnership to expand the airport, Green said.

There also are plans to build a 500,000-square-foot exhibition center next to the 250,000-square-foot convention center where a 400-room Radisson Hotel was installed this year.

"We look at the airport as an economic development tool for us to diversify the economy, " Green said.


Here's the link to the article as well

http://www.news-leader.com/today/010...ou-259267.html
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Old 01-11-2004, 01:12 AM   #8
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Thanks so much!

I, in turn, question Hancik's statement.

"I would question the financial stability of this project which will be built in a seasonal tourism market," Hancik said.

Once the airport is built, I doubt Branson will be "seasonal." The big reason I don't travel to Branson in the winter is the roads and the possible icy road conditions between here and there. I can see Branson becoming more of a year-round tourist town with an airport of its own. I'd much rather drive 10 miles into town than have to face those curvy, hilly, two-lane roads we travel to get there...especially those through Arkansas.

Bring it on!!!!
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Old 01-11-2004, 11:42 AM   #9
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Actually, Hancik's pointing out the obvious obstacles that have to be overcome. He correctly identifies them and attributes them to MARKETING. The "build it and they will come" mentality only goes so far...and 99% of the time that isn't enough to make a project successful. You also have to go out there and let folks know who you are, where you are, and why they should use YOU vs. the competition. It's an expensive proposition, and most new businesses underestimate the task. Branson Airport claims to be prepared to spend "1 million in the first year" on marketing and promotions. Just to put that in perspective, Anheuser-Busch's SPORTS marketing budget for one year runs in the $125 million range. And they are already recognized worldwide as the "King of Beers." This doesn't count anything other than SPORTS MARKETING. But a Branson airport doesn't have to achieve that kind of global household namebrand recognition to be successful, either. However, I doubt that 1 million will achieve the desired results. Perhaps 1 million/year for 5 years might. The devil's in the details, and it's what these comanies DON'T say that tends to tell the tale.

I'm all for the airport and hope it is wildly successful. It would be a fabulous addition to the community. But it is going to be interesting, to say the least. The right folks are giving it a whirl and seem serious. But they do have huge obstacles to overcome for the airport to be economically viable for the long run. Frankly, I expect them to succeed. But only time will tell. One thing's for sure: you never hit the balls you don't swing at.
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