Branson group wants to add more sports spaces, through one-half cent sales tax

BRANSON, Mo. -- A group of citizens in Branson wants residents to agree to raise local sales tax to pay for new sports fields and gyms.

"Ball fields, facilities, trails, parks, senior centers, these are tangibles that bring benefit to a community," Ty Lewis said.

Lewis says those are things that could be made better in Branson.

"This need has been going on for many years," Lewis said.

He is a member of the Branson Community Sports Funding and Development Task Force, a group that has an idea for the city to make more public sports spaces, through a half-cent sales tax.

"To accommodate the community, or the people who live here, but also working hand in hand with tournaments or organizations that want to come to Branson to host their events," Lewis said.

Members of the Task Force believe that the City of Branson already has some great sports facilities, but through the tax, it could add more spaces and enhance what's already in town.

"It's just about space," Michael Porter said.

Porter is a youth sports coach and the father of two young athletes. He drives nearly 100 miles round-trip regularly to get to games and events.

"About four times a week. So, at four times a week, I'm probably logging somewhere between 17,000 and 20,000 miles a year," Porter said.

That is time and money he spends because there is just not enough space for the same opportunities in Branson.

"Limited gym time and space. It becomes a war of attrition. How do we figure out the number of hours we've got for the number of kids we've got?" Porter said.

Porter says people paying a little more for things they buy in town could add up to more local competition, which would give him, and other parents, more time for family.

"I would love some of that time spent on the road back to be a father at home," Porter said.

The public has the chance to share thoughts on the tax before city leaders consider putting it on the ballot. The Task Force is hosting a town hall meeting Thursday December 5 at the Clubhouse at Pointe Royale at 6 p.m. The Task Force will present its ideas for sports funding and ask for public questions and comments.