BRANSON, Mo. — Last night city leaders in Branson rejected a nearly half-billion-dollar proposed water park resort, that taxpayers were asked to help finance.
In a vote of five no’s and one yes, the Board of Alderman in Branson voted against the proposed “Branson Adventures” Tax Increment Funding plan. Emotions ran high on both sides. It started with the board wanting to move forward with the vote in spite of the fact that developer David Cushman was not there Tuesday night, because of an illness. Through an email and his son, who was present, Cushman requested that the vote would be postponed until May 22nd.
“Yesterday we asked for a postponement of the Branson Adventures TIF vote due to illness and respectfully request that this board grant that request and move this discussion and vote to the May 22nd meeting,” Cushman said before the board.
However, the majority of the board voted to move forward without Cushman.
“I mean, this was a posted agenda item, said Alderman Chris Bohinc, “And the house is full with the public and I want them to be able to speak on this agenda item. That’s what this was for tonight.”
Alderman Bill Skains was the only yes vote. He also voted against moving forward with the vote in Cushman’s absence.
“I think this meeting is unfair, Skains said, “I think that Dave should have been sitting on that front row. I thought his people should have been there. And as he got inviscerated by members of this group out here he should have had a chance to respond to it.”
Branson businessman, Bob Nichols agreed with Skains.
This project creates nine hundred jobs. And many of them are high-paying supervisory and managerial positions. Please vote yes.”
Chris Myers of Myer Hotels joined the majority who were against the plan.
“This project is not fair to the hundreds of businesses in this community that have taken the financial risk. It creates an unfair competitive landscape”
For now, the $446 million Branson Adventure project is off the table. However, developer David Cushman can come back at a later date, with a revised plan, if he chooses to do so.