The Reporter covers Miller, Morgan and Camden County in Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks and is published once per week on Wednesdays.

 

Published October 2, 2019

Tax increase on ballot Nov. 5 for soccer complex


LAKE OF THE OZARKS - Voters in Camden, Miller and Morgan Counties will have a chance on November 5 to raise taxes to fund a possible soccer complex in Osage Beach.

A public forum was held yesterday (Tuesday, October 1) by the Tri County Lodging Association (TCLA) to explain to voters the details on the project.

A second forum is scheduled for October 28 from 6-8 p.m. at Four Seasons POA Community Center, located at 36 Vintage Landing Drive in Four Seasons just off Horseshoe Bend Parkway.

The TCLA is asking for a lodging tax increase to fund the development of a destination tournament soccer complex with eight synthetic turf fields.

The recommended site for the Destination Tournament Soccer Complex (DTSC) is located on 51 acres in Osage Beach within the Arrowhead Development project (which used to be the Dogwood Hills Golf Course).

The Arrowhead Development Group has donated the land and committed to building an access road to the DTSC off Nichols Road should the tax increase pass.

The City of Osage Beach has a cooperative agreement with TCLA to bond, design, build, own and operate the DTSC should there be a positive vote from the community.

Though the complex is in the city, the TCLA claims the influx of tourist will benefit all three counties.

“The idea of a sporting facility that will bring families to the Lake Area in the shoulder seasons and create the estimated economic growth for the entire Lake is very exciting,” said Tim Jacobsen, Executive Director of The Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau (CVB). “The community has been very supportive of this type of long-term project that will benefit all businesses in the Lake Area and the overall economic growth for years to come.”

A study commissioned by the CVB claims the complex could bring in an estimated $75 million annually for the Lake Area.

Since the tax is a lodging tax increase, it won’t apply to local residents, only those visiting and staying at locations currently covered by the lodging tax.

The CVB commissioned and received two reports from Convention Sports & Leisure in January and April of 2016 that outlined the feasibility of a destination athletic facility (that included both soccer and baseball) at the Lake of the Ozarks.

Those reports concluded that an athletic complex was feasible at the Lake.

In the Fall of 2016, XO Strategic was first approached by the CVB in an effort to take the concept of a destination tournament soccer facility and determine:
1) would such a complex achieve the desired goals of new visitors to the Lake and generate room-nights in the existing Lake-area hospitality facilities?
2) would a soccer tournament complex at the Lake be viable and self-sustaining, and if so, when?
3) how would the complex be financed, developed, operated, and scheduled?”

Though the idea was for baseball and soccer, XO Strategic only examined the soccer portion and the results came back positive.

That conclusion was put into place due to the large amount of tourism that hits the lake area during the summer months but drops off in the spring and fall of the year.

The soccer complex – if it becomes a reality – would bring tourists to the lake area during the spring and fall of the year when the tournaments are held.

These tournaments, according to XO Strategic, are guaranteed to bring income to the lake.

“Youth soccer tournament operators require a ‘stay and play’ registration system, whereby the tournament operator mandates the accommodation where the tournament participants stay. This is required because of the sheer volume of room-nights required for each weekend tournament, and the necessity to guarantee that all attendees have a place to stay…Traditionally, all hotels are invited to participate in the accommodation program for the tournaments. In the case of the Lake of the Ozarks, only accommodations current in lodging tax payments will be considered.”

The report continued in their encouragement to proceed with the project and the resulting tax increase.

“XO Strategic recommends the construction of an eight field synthetic complex. Based on the included pro forma, eight fields appears to be the proper size to balance initial construction cost and ongoing maintenance and long-term replacement expense with attraction of visitors and generation of room-nights for tournaments.

“As a result, a typical weekend soccer tournament at the Lake TSC will feature over 160 teams of all ages and both genders. Most teams will have a Friday afternoon/evening match or a match early Saturday morning, followed by at least two additional matches throughout Saturday and Sunday.

The TCLA ballot issue is a separate vote in the Miller, Morgan & Camden TCLA voting districts which are five miles from the lake in each county.

More information can be found online at www.votelakesoccer.com

The vote will take place on Tuesday, November 5.

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