BRANSON, Mo. -- A group of Michigan-based Chippewa Indians
announced plans to build a family-oriented, Native American theme
park outside of Branson.
The Chippewas currently operate a casino in Michigan. The
Branson park -- which will measure 1 million square feet -- would
be called An American Dream, the Native American group said. The
project, which is known as, Showcase Branson-Project would open in
late 2001 or early 2002 in Kimberling City on 1,000 acres that will
be acquired from local investors.
One of the investors is a partner in MLC Developments
International Inc., which is helping to finance the Indian-run
project. The deal and site selection process reportedly had been in
the works since 1990, sources said. The site that was selected
overlooks Table Rock Lake.
Kimberling City is a bedroom community with limited tourism
facilities. It is noted for its annual Port of Lights lakefront
Christmas display. Residents generally oppose the project because
it will disturb their tranquility and require an expansion of the
road system, tourism officials said.
The Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians
emphasized in their formal announcement that the project would not
have gambling, but would concentrate on family entertainment and
that it would create more than 2,500 jobs. Because the tribe has a
track record of operating a casino, its no-gambling pledge is
raising some doubt locally.
Missouri has casinos in the Kansas City and St. Louis areas and
tour operators bringing groups to and from Branson routinely
include stopovers there. Branson is nearly four hours' drive from
The Branson-Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and Convention and
Visitors Bureau saw fit last week to reaffirm its stand against
gambling in Missouri's Stone and Taney counties, which encompass
this region of the Ozarks.