New Lease on Life: Owners Have Big Plans for Campground

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May 9, 2011 by   - () Leave a Comment

Although plans to develop more than 60 acres below Bagnell Dam near Ozark, Mo., into a recreation area failed, the property has a new lease and an opportunity to become a popular destination for locals and visitors.

If all goes as planned, the Mountain Man Festival, Christmas Caravan and Bonfire and other events may soon be moving back to the area below the dam that was once home to the American Legion Campground and recreational area, reported.

The new leaseholders, Betsey and Keith Browning, are hoping the access to the Osage River, campground and fishing areas will draw visitors to the 64-acres below Bagnell Dam near the end of the Bagnell Dam Strip.

The property had been leased to the Silver Star Development company by Ameren Missouri. When Silver Star failed, the lease reverted back to the utility company.

Earlier this year, the Browning family was able to negotiate a lease arrangement with Ameren Missouri to take over management of the property. The Brownins had subleased from Silver Star to operate a bait, tackle and convenience store on the property that sits on the banks of the Osage River.

“We subleased the building (the old American Legion Building) from Silver Star Development in July of 2009. This is our third season here as The Dam Bait Shop LLC. Silver Star Development had complete control of the campground and the rest of the property,” Betsey said. “We made contact with Ameren once we realized the property was going back to them just to let them know we would be willing to take over the lease of the entire property. In March Ameren allowed us to assume Silver Star’s lease, and it was assigned over to The Dam Bait Shop LLC.”

The Brownings are planning to hold some childrens fishing tournaments and many other community friendly activities. They have remodeled the shower-house and now have a laundry facility for campers use.

“We encourage fisherman/women and children to come enjoy the natural beauty of our newly restored and well kept property for fishing, picnics, hiking, metal detecting or just enjoying the view of Bagnell Dam and the Osage River,” she said.

At one time, an adjoining parcel of land owned by Silver Star was up for sale. The developers had hoped to sell off the adjoining property to develop some recreational uses on the property below the dam.

The American Legion had held the lease on the land under an agreement with Ameren for more than 20 years before Silver Star moved in.

The land below the dam is included in the project boundaries of the Osage Hydroelectric Plant and Bagnell Dam. That means the property is included in the flood plain and is subject to the rules and regulations of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Those rules require that the property be open to the public for recreational use.

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