Who owns the land Branson Landing is on and does it have anything to do with Branson’s Project Graduation?

Who owns the land Branson Landing is on?

That’s really a rhetorical question because, according to a January 19, 2010 judgment, Douglas L. Coverdell and Coverdell Enterprises Inc,. owns, what is according to some people, a sizable portion of the land upon which Branson Landing is built. How sizable? From news accounts on the judgment, big enough for the developer of Branson Landing, HCW, who has a 99 year lease with the city, to indicate that it threatens their lease with the city and has put a planned expansion on the disputed land on hold.

Interestingly, the city of Branson was not involved in the lawsuit. It was between Douglass L. Coverdell and Coverdell Enterprises, Inc., Plaintiffs and The Empire Electric Company, Defendant. “But Seagull, why not? Didn’t the city buy some of the land involved, lease some from Empire Electric and sign a lease with the Branson Landing’s developer for some of the land involved in the dispute?” Well that’s what public reports on the judgment seem to indicate. Reading between the lines however, it almost appears as if the city got caught with its “shorts down,” but surely not.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the city could issue a press release informing its citizens and businesses about why it wasn’t involved and the potential impact of the decision on its claims to any of the Branson Landing Land covered by the judgment? It would also be interesting to know  how much, if any, it has spent on legal fees involving this issue thus far and, in general terms, what the potential liability or exposure of the city is.

Does it have anything to do with Branson’s Project Graduation?

Please tell an Ole Seagull that it is not true and that the city of Branson and/or Hilton Hotels Corporation, who manages the Branson Convention Center under a management agreement for the city, has not demanded that Branson’s Project Graduation pay $5,000 to rent space at the Convention Center to provide Branson High School graduates with a safe, exciting and fun way to celebrate their graduation. Part of the rational, he was informed, is that if it is done for Branson High School they will have to do if for other area high schools or organizations that ask to use the conventions center free or at a discount.

That’s simply not the case. The city owns the Convention Center and can do what it wants with it. There is a special relationship that exists between the city of Branson, the Branson School District and the children it educates, our children and grandchildren. One area of that relationship is the fact the city of Branson imposed a TIF that captures part of the Branson School Districts tax revenues to use to help pay for the very convention center they want to charge the district’s “kids” $5,000 to rent.

“Now come on Seagull, this is about kids and their safety not TIFs.” That’s right, but that TIF could serve as the basis for a very limited exception that could be made to permit the free or reduced cost use of the Convention Center for “High School graduations or ‘Project Graduation events’ in any school district that has tax revenues captured under the provisions of a TIF enacted by the city of Branson.” Oh, and to answer the question, there is absolutely no relationship between who owns the land Branson Landing is built on and Branson’s Project Graduation, but it did make a catchy headline.

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