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Downtown association changes name

The Downtown Branson Betterment Association announced the name change of its organization to Downtown Branson Main Street Association at its 11th annual meeting Feb. 19.

According to the association's executive director, Gayla Hagerty, the name change was made because "nearly all the other Main Street towns are recognized by the name Main Street.

"We are one of the primary Main Street cities in Missouri, but we are seldom recognized by the public because it isn't part of our name. Also, the association is frequently mistaken for the Better Business Bureau."

New officers for the association are David Webb, of Brier Rose, Ivy Rose and Christmas & Toys, president; and Roger Edney, property owner, vice president. New board directors are Wilma Hamilton, of Orphanage Dolls; Greg Baker, of Ozark Mountain Bank; and Dianne Breeden, of IGA-Thriftway.

At the annual meeting, Dick Hartley of Dick's Old Time 5&10 received the Charley Reish Vision Award for his long-term dedication to the growth and economy of downtown Branson.

Bob Thompson was recognized with the Ambassador Award for his outstanding service to the association's festivals. The Service Award went to Pat Schoales, owner of the Thunderbird Theater, for assistance with the '50s and '60s Street Dance held each year for the past seven years.

The Old Stone Church was honored with the Ken Awbery Community PRIDE Award for the total restoration of the building, which has been a downtown landmark since 1909.

Branson TRIP nominated for national award

The Branson Travel and Recreation Information Program (TRIP) has been nominated for a national award through the Intelligent Transportation Systems

of America, according to the city of Branson.

The ITSA is an organization of about 1,000 members comprising private and government transportation agencies, including the Missouri Department of Transportation.

Branson TRIP debuted last June and features highway advisory radio, message boards, Web site information and other elements to inform travelers on traffic and weather conditions.

The city of Branson also cites a study by a transportation consultant that shows that in 20 years, the number of vehicles traveling U.S. Highway 65 between Springfield and Branson will double to almost 60,000 vehicles a day.

Branson city officials said the projection underscored the importance of completing the widening of the highway to four lanes from Ozark to Branson, a project, according to MoDOT officials, expected to be completed by late 2001.

After Hours mixer set for March 18

The next Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours is scheduled for 5:30-7 p.m. March 18 at Lonestar Steak House Restaurant in Branson.

Business After Hours will be hosted by both Lonestar and KTTS of Springfield.

Commission reports construction up in 1998

The Taney County Planning Commission reports that total permits issued from its office were up in 1998 at 852 permits, compared to 749 permits in 1997, but not as high as the 981 permits issued in 1996.

The planning commission issued 620 Division I single-family residential permits last year, up more than 100 from 1997.

In 1998, the commission also issued 111 Division II permits which included multifamily residential, commercial, industrial and institutional structures; 32 Division III permits, which included rezonings and land use changes; 14 land grading permits; 64 certificates of conformance; and 11 sign permits.

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