Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Branson, Illinois

So, Illinois is getting its own version of Branson, Missouri? Two articles (here and here) in today’s Southern Illinoisian suggest as much.

Basically, the plan is for an area in Southern Illinois near Pinckneyville in Perry County to be developed into something Branson-esque, whatever that means. But I guess I’m a little skeptical when I read this:

Todd Britt, a lobbyist representing the company's interests in Springfield, said the company would get the 2,000 acres of state parkland by giving the state an equal amount of nearby land - plus an estimated $1 million - south of Pyramid State Park.

The company intends to build bicycle racing tracks and a small golf course on the tract as a precursor to the larger development patterned after Branson, Britt said. Eventually, the development could cover 9,500 acres.

Bicycle racing tracks? A “small” golf course? (What, is Putt-Putt going to reopen downstate?) And the rest is TBA?

I’ve always thought the development of Branson, a place I’ve never been but have heard and seen much about, was a brilliant idea. It all seems to come together with some serious vision and even more serious marketing. I’m a bit skeptical that lightning can strike twice in this regard. But hey, that part of the state really doesn’t have a whole lot to look forward to economically, so if they want to give it shot, I say go for it. I just hope it doesn’t turn out to be a boondoggle that results in the taxpayers holding the bag. Who knows, maybe the real Branson started off as just a small golf course.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Imagine if Las Vegas were run by Ned Flanders. That's Branson.