Proposed Lake of the Ozarks soccer complex stirs debate
CAMDENTON - A proposed soccer complex has more than one goal for the city of Osage Beach, but not everyone is on board with the new project.
The complex is projected to bring a $75 million increase in visitor spending and create new jobs for people in the area.
It will be on the ballot for the November election.
The Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau and the Tri-County Lodging Association proposed the project in an effort to attract more visitors to the area. If the project moves forward, the lodging tax for Morgan, Miller and Camden counties will increase by 3 percent, according to Tim Jacobsen, executive director of the visitor bureau.
“The biggest aspect for me in this complex is the opportunity to bring economic stimulus to all of these smaller businesses in Lake of the Ozarks -- not just the lodging facilities but also all of the other small businesses,” Jacobsen said.
Some lodging business owners are worried about the future of their businesses should the plan move forward.
“I have to decide if I want to try to take it out of my income or pass it forward to my guests, and I think that this will be a huge impact to my business and to my own customers,” owner of Lake Breeze Resort Gena Aldrich said.
She said this tax may affect tourists as well.
“I think this will devastate my customers," Aldrich said. "I have a 94-year-old gentleman who pays as a treat to his family every year to come and stay at our resort. He’s been coming for 31 years, and he’s on a fixed income. This tax will devastate him. It will shock him.”
Matt Foote, owner of Skyline Resort, said small business owners have not had their opinions taken into consideration throughout the process.
“A lot of these people I called have said ‘No, we didn’t get a vote. We don’t want this,’ and that’s the biggest thing that I’m battling is that we don’t get a say,” Foote said.
“The payoff for the amount of other activity that is going to be coming to the lake and the amount of rooms that they can pick up on the shoulder season will outweigh the expense of that increase in lodging tax,” Jacobsen said.