The Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce’s outgoing and incoming presidents both talked about a unified community last week.

2019 Chamber Board Chairman Craig Wescott and 2020 Chairman Tim Scott both talked during the chamber’s annual Black Tie Gala Feb. 7 about a unified vision for the future of the Branson Tri-Lakes area.

It seems we can continually improve on working together, having each other’s backs and believing each other,” said Wescott, who was recognized during the event held at Chateau on the Lake for his service to the chamber. We have government, the taxing districts, the chamber, CVB, schools, health care, individual businesses, nonprofit organizations, community groups, and more. 

And I’m certainly not saying all these entities have the exact same missions, but I’m willing to bet they can all get behind the idea of making the Branson community a better place to live, work and visit.”

In recent years, some business entities have criticized the chamber for a perceived lack of adequate promotion of the city’s live entertainment compared to attractions, outdoors and shopping. In 2019 city aldermen chose to delay the renewal of a marketing contract with the chamber in order to bring in an expert to analyze the chamber’s marketing. The current contract was extended to Dec. 31, 2020.

But the chamber has had many successes to point to in 2019. The city of Branson’s Planning & Development Department recently reported that the city’s fourth quarter saw $122.1 million in new building permit approval, indicating strong growth in the community.

“Let’s built upon the foundation we already have and figure out how our big family here can get and keep our house in order so we can proudly welcome guests for years to come,” said Wescott, who is co-owner of The Tracks Family

Fun Parks. “It takes everybody doing their part and trusting the others to do theirs.”

The chamber’s 2020 president, Tim Scott, delivered a similar message.

“The thing that I’d love to see happen here is for us to have a proactive, unified, economic development plan that incorporates the soul of Branson,” Scott said. “That includes our heartbeat and personality and what it is we do. It would include the city of Branson, the city of Hollister and Taney County.”

Scott singled out individuals, specifically Jonas Arjes, of Taney County Partnership, and Hollister City Administrator Rick Ziegenfuss as two individuals who are doing a great job in the community.

Wescott specifically thanked the chamber’s staff and board of directors, but especially president and CEO Jeff Seifried.

“They are absolute workhorses for this community,” Wescott said. “In my position, I saw it more this year than ever before. They do the things that you and I, and our individual organizations don’t have the time, resources, staff or expertise to do on our own. They don’t do it to get rich. They do it because they have a passion to make Branson a better place to live, work and visit.”

Seifried talked about attracting sports events, redevelopment of 76 Country Boulevard, and $800 million worth of projects “in the pipeline” for the area’s future. He also discussed something new that happened in 2019: The Branson Music Christmas Show Special.

“(We are) continuing to showcase live shows and entertainment during the most wonderful time of the year – Christmas – with our Christmas show special,” Seifried said. “It aired from November to December around the country. So proud of that, and frankly, it was our team alongside volunteer leaders that had the vision and passion and drive to get that done at a moment’s notice because it was the right thing to do, and it was a great idea. So I encourage you to tune in next year as we show the Branson Christmas Show special.”

To see the annual award presented at the Black Tie Gala, see the Feb. 12 edition of the Branson Tri-Lakes News.

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