Branson’s Whitewater water park didn’t need any public funding when it opened in 1980. And it has grown and thrived ever since. Owned by Herschend Family Entertainment, a family and Christian-owned company, the park is a staple for summer time visits.
Now, a competing company plans to build a half-billion-dollar water park and wants tax payers to be on the hook for $109 million.
CP Branson, LLC will trie to convince today an 11 member commission to give the company to receive tax increment financing for the project. If approved, the financing arrangement would pay for roughly 25% of the project over a 23-year-period.
The Branson Tri-Lakes News first outlined details of the $446 million park known as Branson Adventures in mid-December.
The project overview first released in the Branson Tri-Lakes News in December broke down funding, with about $249 million to come from the developer’s private debt. Private equity would supply about $80 million, with nearly a quarter of the capital coming through tax-exempt bonds at $109 million.
The indoor and outdoor water park would be similar to whitewater adventure rafting courses in other parks across the country. It would also have other swimming amenities. Plans for the destination attraction include 350 hotel rooms along with 215 cabins. CP Branson projects the park would employ nearly 1,000 people in its first year, and close to 1,300 by its fifth year.
The proposed location is a 300-acre lot in Branson next to a state conservation area that’s dedicated to the creators of the Beverly Hillbillies TV show.
The project is not associated with White Water or Silver Dollar City and would require a much bigger cash outlay than other Branson projects like the city’s Ferris wheel.
Construction would begin next year and continue in phases until mid-2023.
Branson Mayor Karen Best supports the project, while other Taney County and city officials are skeptical with the vast amount—the largest ever for Branson.
The developer projects the park would bring in over 600,000 visitors to Branson annually but has no comment on what impact on traffic and infrastructure it would have–or how to pay for city improvements to cover the additional city expenses.