I’m sure by now many of you have seen either in person, or in pictures, the aftermath of the tornado that ripped through the Branson area less than two weeks ago . . . the “Leap Day” tornado, it is being called, which is a pretty fitting title – an unusual storm on an unusual day of the year!
Though my family did make our way into our basement the night of the storm, I must admit that we had NO IDEA of the destruction that many families and businesses experienced overnight. When we received word early the next morning that school had been cancelled due to storm damage, I knew that the few downed limbs in my yard were nothing compared to what others must have experienced.
It was strange to drive out of my neighborhood and down the roads that I frequent every day and STILL to see nothing out of place. But as I kept driving toward the strip, that quickly changed. There were many sections of the strip that looked as normal as my own neighborhood did, but then there were others that did not fare so well. And in classic tornado fashion, there were many buildings that were left completely untouched standing right next to buildings that were severely damaged. It broke my heart. Though people’s lives were not taken (we are so thankful!), I knew that the tornado’s destructive path would definitely have an effect on the people of our town, both personally and professionally.
But, I also knew that our town has a special spirit . . . and that this “set-back” would not keep us down. There is not space to detail here the stories of unselfish help and service that have characterized our town post-tornado. Though you would never wish for something like this to happen, I must say that seeing the way our town pulled together to help our neighbors is something that I will not soon forget. It didn’t surprise me, but it was certainly awesome to witness.
So, how did The Track fare in this storm?
Well, Track 5 happens to be in a section of the strip that was not affected at all. In fact, it opened on Saturday, March 3rd as planned for the season! Track 3 is in a section of the strip that had LOTS of damage. But, with the exception of a very large billboard (that is now a mangled mess of steel) that fell onto Track 3’s Lost Mine mini golf course, Track 3 was virtually untouched! It opened on Friday, March 2nd as planned for the season!
Track 4, on the other hand, is a bit of a different story. The good news is that the new-in-2011 Heavy Metal High Rise was not touched. The bad news is that other parts of the park did not fare so well:
Within a couple of days, most of the debris was cleaned up, which made the park look almost normal! But, the building sustained damage severe enough that it has been deemed a total loss – demolition started late this week. Though it is sad to see it go, there is great opportunity to rebuild something even better in its place. So for now, Track 4 is closed. I can assure you, however, that the team at the Track is working hard to get things up and running as soon as they can!
And remember, Track 3 and Track 5 are OPEN, as are the majority of Branson businesses! Click here for more information on OPEN businesses and attractions.
We hope to see you in Branson this year – we’ll be ready for you!!