KIMBERLING CITY — A special meeting was held Wednesday night in Kimberling City for a presentation of the Kimberling City Tourism Development Program and the draft comprehensive plan by representatives and students from Missouri State University.
“There was a need for Kimberling City to establish a tourism identity for itself to encourage tourism for the area,” said Table Rock Lake Chamber of Commerce CEO Dave Liebenow. “That was one of the challenges they faced in the program, and I though they did a good job in their presentation.”
The project was tackled by two different classes at the university, each handling a different aspect.
“This was just a very quick overview of these suggested programs,” said director of the Center for Resource Planning and Management Diane May.
“There is much more information and details that we simply didn’t have time to go into tonight. We put in a lot of work on this.”
These students looked at everything from sewage and water treatment to potential activity centers and landscaping throughout the city.
“We’re not trying to recreate the wheel, or replace everything the town has,” May said. “The intent of the comprehensive plan is to provide you with a guide on how you can get to the vision you all want.”
While the comprehensive plan dealt with housing, public works, transportation, the possibility for a new water system and other city entities, much of the presentation was dedicated to the tourism plan.
“Our plan was to come up with some tourism development ideas,” said Geotourism Coordinator for Missouri State University Linnea Iantria.
“What we needed to do was establish a clear tourist identity. Kimberling City means something to you, but from a tourist perspective, there is no clear idea.”
Iantria the addressed the need for a new city logo. The current logo prominently features the Kimberling City Bridge.
“The bridge shows that you’re connecting one side of the lake to the other,” Iantria said.
“This logo is basically telling me to come on through and not really telling me to stop,” she said.
According to Iantria, business owners and residents of Kimberling City should embrace the tourist market in the area.
“Understand the financial benefit that tourism provides and understand your tourism assets and how best to capitalize on them,” Iantria said. “There are some great things going over here and I don’t think the town is taking advantage of them.”
The presentation included ways to add more events and attractions, a plan to market Kimberling City lodging to outside areas, several ideas to make the lake a larger part of the tourist draw, as well as plans for a potential yacht club.
“Some of this is pure fantasy, but you have to start somewhere,” Iantria said.
Many of the suggestions made in the presentation echoed a study done last year by several students from Drury University.
“There were a lot of common threads and suggestions there,” Liebenow said. “Those may be the things that get a good look.”
Iantria, and May both agree that the time for action is now.
“The city needs to control how tourism develops over time,” Iantria said. “Rather than the community being controlled by tourism outside the community vision.”
While these plans and ideas were shown to the public, there is no current timetable as to what, if anything, will come to fruition.
“We are still looking at the detailed recommendations and I will be working this more as well,” May said. “We’ll hopefully come out for the next planning commission meeting to go through things. There are things we just need more input on.”
Liebenow sees the information and suggestions as a good foundation for moving the city forward.