Originally published Oct. 7, 2009
ROCKAWAY BEACH — The Rockaway Beach Chamber of Commerce will host a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the community center in city hall to announce plans for a tiger sanctuary.
After the Taney County Planning Commission denied a proposal in June that would have allowed construction of a tiger sanctuary north of Branson, the Rockaway Beach Chamber of Commerce began working in conjunction with Global Resources for Environmental Education & Nature, known as GREEN, to move their current facilities in Bloomsdale to Rockaway Beach.
“This could be an astronomical step in putting Rockaway Beach, which was once known as the ‘Fort Lauderdale of the Midwest,’ back on the map,” Director of Marketing for the Rockaway Beach Chamber of Commerce Bill Kitchin said.
GREEN is a not-for-profit organization that currently has a tiger sanctuary south of St. Louis which has been open for 10 years. The goal of the organization isn’t to merely show off endangered tigers, but to educate people on the importance of protecting the environment.
The attraction is expected to bring an additional 90,000 tourists to Rockaway Beach and the Tri-Lakes Area. Currently, there is an estimated 4,500 tourists that hit Rockaway Beach annually. The facility will compliment the master plan of Rockaway Beach’s Parks and Recreation Department’s master plan for a 2.5-mile educational and interpretive trail with primitive camping and an outdoor classroom.
“I can’t stress enough how the economic impact and importance of this attraction is to not only Rockaway Beach, but what it could mean to neighboring communities in eastern Taney County,” Kitchin said.
The chamber of commerce would like to invite every resident and businesses owner, whether they are a member of the chamber of commerce or not, to attend the meeting.