Tourism Less Following Reservoir Breach

Tourism Less Following Reservoir Breach
By: Ryan Tate

LESTERVILLE, MO --When one billion dollars of water cascaded down Proffit Mountain back in December, business owners in the Reynolds County area feared the damage may effect the summer tourist season.  According to some business owners, it did.
"I think the amount of people was down about 30%," Dennis Gawronski said.  Gawronski owns "Lenny's" and has been the business owner for eleven years.
"The weekly traffic was a lot slower," Gawronski said.
"There was business but it wasn't like normal," Bob Franklin said. Franklin owns "Franklin Floats," a company specializing in getting people onto the waters of the Black River.  "The business was there on weekends, but during the week? I think it was down about 50%, but that is my opinion," Franklin said.
Both men point to the damage at the Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park as the reason for the drop in tourism.  The reservoir breach damaged large sections of the State Park. As crews work on the damage, the Park is closed to campers. Gawronski and Franklin said the lack of campers means less traffic in town. Subsequently, less business.
"I think people will come back. As the river keeps trying to clear up, people said it was better than they imagined."