11/7/2016 - BRANSON, Mo. -- The public got its first look Monday at plans for a $200-million proposal to install a gondola system in the city of Branson.
The transportation system would run eight-and-a-half miles from the Branson Landing to Silver Dollar City and back.
"Our financial investors have said if we can get the memorandum of understanding next week, they would have our funding in place by the end of the year,” says American Gondola president, Jeff Green.
Green says a memorandum of understanding (MOU) agreement with the city, would help to protect the project’s investors from a similar project coming in during the development process.
The city has said a key to getting the MOU, or having the Board of Alderman take up the issue, is public support for the project. Monday, American Gondola held public meetings in Branson to help get citizens and business leaders onboard.
"It will be wonderful,” says Branson resident, Carolyn Emmet, “and like they said, I never thought about just riding it for the fun of it."
"I work front desk at one of our big hotels here,” says Bob Emmet. “I know that this would be a great advantage to my guests because they're traveling up and down the strip and one of the big concerns is traffic"
The loop would have between 400 and 600 gondolas that would be heated and cooled for riders depending on the weather.
The gondola line wouldn’t always run above Highway 76, at times it would cut across the hills, but the 12 terminals would be strategically placed on the highway.
"We've already had some people competing for the terminal locations... wanting terminals where their business is,” says Green. “There are others, that we'd like to be at, that might not work out so well because of what they've got planned for the project.”
Many of the details are not set in stone, but the public learned Monday a trip down the line would take about 40 minutes.
Ticket prices would be $15 per person for a daily pass, with discounts for multi-day passes. For example, a four-day pass would cost around $28.
Green says there would be additional discounts for local residents who would use the gondolas to get to and from work.
"I think the biggest thing we've heard is, 'how soon can you get this done?,’” he says. “They want it done sooner than later."
Green estimates, once the MOU is in place, engineering plans and construction would take around two-years.
The first riders could possibly be in the year 2020.
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