TANEY COUNTY, Mo. – Plans to expand Highway 86 in Taney County became more pressing over the weekend after many fans sat in traffic for hours waiting to attend the sold-out Garth Brooks concert at the Thunder Ridge Nature Arena.
Right now, 86 is a two-lane road and the weekend’s events highlighted the need to make sure it can handle more traffic. The Taney County Commission is hosting a public meeting to get feedback on a plan to create a sales tax to pay for it.
That meeting is happening Monday, Oct. 11 at 1:30 p.m.
There are two separate sales tax issues on the table. Combined, they would mean a two percent sales tax for the area. One would be considered a 1% community improvement district tax and the other would be a 1% transportation development district tax. Anyone who spends money at a Big Cedar property would pay an 8.35% sales tax.
The tax would only apply to Big Cedar and other properties owned by the company, according to Brandon Williams, the Taney County Western District Commissioner, property owners would not have to pay the taxes unless they spend money at one of Big Cedar’s businesses.
Most of the money raised would be used to improve the roads around Thunder Ridge Nature Arena, such as 86 and 65, Williams said.
“The goal is to make sure that we provide the infrastructure needed for the impact that’s being caused by the visitors that come to Big Cedar and the area,” Williams said.
Country superstar Garth Brooks played three public sold-out concerts at Thunder Ridge Nature Arena Sept. 30-Oct. 2. These were the first shows held at the newly opened venue. The first night of the concert, Friday, Sept. 30 brought traffic issues for many fans on Highway 86 and U.S. 65 as drivers experienced traffic delays, waiting for hours, some not even making it into the show.
Even though these taxes would not directly affect property owners, Williams said the county is adhering to statutes that state there should be a public hearing, which is why the County Commission is hosting the Oct. 11 meeting.
The infrastructure in place currently is more than 50 years old, Williams said, and it’s a way to target the area that needs to improve without relying on MoDOT or other public funds.