BRANSON, Mo. – Three years after the initial plans were released to the public, work is underway on Branson’s “Spirit of 76” project.
While it may not be a groundbreaking with golden shovels, the construction on new water lines, near the corner of Highways 76 and 165, signals some major changes for Country Music Boulevard.
KOLR 10 showed some of the renders for the eight-year, $80-million project to visitors at the Starlite Theatre to get their input on the city’s plans.
“It looks very family-friendly,” says Mississippi resident, Jeanette Mitchell.
“The walking –to be able to walk around is great,” she says. “You can really see a place better if you can walk around and enjoy it.”
“There is quite a few vacant lots down through [Highway 76],” says Vermont resident, Wayne Comeau, “so it definitely could use a little tuning up.”
“I think it’s awesome.,” says Linda Jones from Illinois. “[It’s] more pedestrian friendly, they can walk to where they want to go.”
The project calls for, among other things, widened sidewalks, underground power lines, new landscaping, scenic overlooks and various gathering spaces for visitors.
The new additions will unfold in three-phases over the coming years with each phase being broken into small sections. For example, phase one stretches from the Grand Palace down to White Water.
Funding for the project will come from a new CID taxing district for businesses on the strip. As sections are completed and construction branches out, new businesses will be brought into the CID.
The city says it will try and work around the tourist season to minimize delays, while also pushing to finish the project ahead of schedule.
The next step following the underground utility work will be construction on the promenade in the first phase later this fall.