City of Branson, Mo. wants to turn old theater into public safety complex, police department

Published: Jul. 6, 2022 at 3:53 PM CDT
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BRANSON, Mo. (KY3) - In a closed special meeting on July 1, the Branson Board of Aldermen unanimously voted to start the initial process to purchase the Old White House Theatre.

If the city purchases the old theatre it will serve as a Public Safety Complex and the new headquarters of the Branson Police Department.

“It will house police, fire administration, our emergency operations center,” said Branson Police Chief Jeff Matthews. “We will co-locate our dispatch services, police and fire with TCAD (Taney County Ambulance District) in this facility as well.”

Chief Matthews says the police department previously bought land for a new police station in 2018 with the public safety sales tax. That project was put on hold due to the pandemic. Matthews says the theater has more than double the square footage of the original plan.

”Officers come to this facility to finish up reports and do their daily paperwork,” Matthews said. “It’s very cramped in here. Our police facility right now is just shy of 9,000 square feet.”

The theater contains 65,000 square feet, and would cost around $2.5 million.

”It’ll be funded the same way we were going to fund the other police station, through the public safety tax passed a few years ago,” said Branson Alderman Marshall Howden. “We are going to save many millions of dollars on this.”

Howden says he thinks the new facility will be a great recruitment tool for the police department as well.

”This will be a shining beacon of light on the hill,” Howden said. “If you will to welcome those officers and say come to Branson, come to the community that best supports public safety police and fire.”

Matthews also says co-locating police and fire admin is huge when it comes to public safety.

”Having the ability to just walk down the hall and get a group together to cover whatever topic we need to cover, and lay out plans, mitigation efforts is huge,” Matthews said. “It’ll benefit the city to have us co located like that.”

Chief Matthews says if the sale of the new building goes through, the city will sell the previously purchased land and put the money towards the new public safety complex.

Matthews hopes the public safety complex is up and running within five years.

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