Members of the Public Comment on the “Aquarium at the Boardwalk” Project in Branson

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BRANSON, Mo. A new aquarium project could be starting in Branson, after Branson city officials held a public forum on the “Aquarium at the Boardwalk tax increment financing” Tuesday night.

The board of alderman did not vote on this issue. 

Tuesday night was just an opportunity for the public to give their opinions on this project.

“We are just there to listen to their comments, and then the board of alderman will take under recommendation what the comments from the community are when they go to make their decisions next week,” said Karen Best, mayor of the city of Branson.

Best said she will not be voting on this TIF project.

“Technically, by law, I can vote, and I can either support or not support it, but I would rather just remain neutral,” Best explained.

Tej Sundher, a partner at Kuvera Partners explained why they wanted to build an aquarium.

“We’ve done many many years of research, done over eight studies, and we came out that the aquarium is wanted by not only people that are visiting Branson but also people who haven’t visited in a while,” said Sundher.

He also talked about the tax increment financing. 

It means a city would give tax breaks to a developer.

That allows the developer to build the project, which the city hopes will bring more visitors and revenue to the area, long term.

Members from the public also voiced their opinions.

Some were in favor of this project, “this is the closest we’ve ever gotten to an aquarium in Branson Missouri, and I don’t believe there’s any chance we’re going to get another shot at it if we don’t take this one,” said a man in favor.

And some were concerned, “my concern is the time frame that we’re looking at for the rest of this property to be developed,” said a woman opposed, “I know you mentioned ten years, but it’s taken you five years to get to this point. For the small section.”

The first reading is scheduled for next Tuesday, and the second reading is scheduled for the 26th for now.

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