DECEMBER news & updates
DECEMBER 2020 | Issue 50
Hello Ozark,

I love this time of year! Starting with the Thanksgiving four day weekend, we focus on family time, great food, and probably a little football. Then the Christmas holidays come, where we get to do a lot more of the same, and I take the time to remember to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. While these are fun, memory making times, we use them to rest up for the coming year and to recoup from a challenging 2020.

The year 2020 has been a difficult one for families, businesses, organizations and anyone who has felt the crush of the Covid-19 pandemic. We have adjusted our budgets, lifestyles, working habits, travel plans, the way we do school and in some cases, our politics. It's been tough and actually still is. We have been inconvenienced by strict social distancing guidelines, quarantines, virus testing and masking requirements. Many have suffered greatly and some still will before we come out of the virus crisis. But for the most part, Ozarkers have been strong, resilient and have held up well to the challenges. I encourage you to continue doing the same. We can do this! Ozark is a strong community and will come out of this even stronger in the days ahead. Let's do all we can to help heal our hurts and health and make our community one that is united towards moving forward TOGETHER.

Have a wonderful Christmas holiday season and get ready for 2021. Do your part to make it one of your family's, businesses, school's, city's and country's best years ever.

Rick Gardner
City Hall will be closed Dec. 24-25, Jan 1st, in observance of the Christmas Holiday and New Year's Day.

City Hall Drive-Thru Window Closed
Due to unforeseen circumstances the drive through window at City Hall will be closed through 12/10. However, our customers may still make their payments online through, through our automated system, or in person in our lobby. Payments can also be dropped in our 24 hour drop box located next to our drive through window.

Because we are short staffed at this time, your phone call may go to voicemail. Do not get discouraged. We will respond to your voicemail as soon as possible. We will also be responding to emails. You can contact or

Again, thank you for your patience during this time.
Christmas Lights of Ozark 2020:
Pick up your yard sign and/or flyers for your hom or business at these locations:

Ozark Chamber of Commerce
1471 W. South Street
Ozark, MO 65721

Ozark City Hall
205 N. 1st St.
Ozark, MO 65721

Ozark Community Center
1530 W. Jackson St.
Ozark, MO 65721
Tag, share, reply to us with a picture of you wearing your mask and feature in our socials!
Public Works
Riverside Bridge IS OPEN!
Ozark Residents – We are extremely excited to announce that the highly anticipated new Riverside Bridge is now OPEN as of November 7, 2020! The barricades have been taken down and we have been given the OK to allow traffic through. The Riverside Bridge project is a partnership between the City of Ozark, Christian County, and Ozark Special Road District. We want to thank Great River Engineering, Hartman Construction and all of the crew members who helped make this happen, as well as you, our residents. The Riverside Bridge would not be possible if not for the 3/8 Cent Transportation Sales Tax voted in by our community in 2017. We also want to thank our community for their patience and excitement as the Riverside Bridge project was completed. We do ask that vehicles do not drive in the grass area as it is still fairly soft. We will keep you updated on when this grass area will be open to the public.
In addition to Riverside Bridge and with the help of the 3/8 Cent Transportation Sales Tax, the City does have other current projects happening around the community, and we encourage you to keep up with the progress and how the funds from this Sales Tax is being utilized by going to our website here.

MoDOT TRAFFIC ALERT: Jackson Street (Missouri Route 14) Traffic Shift East of U.S. Route 65
Jackson Street (Missouri Route 14) eastbound traffic shift to the center turn lane east of U.S. Route 65 between 16th Street and Christian County Route NN began 11/12.
When: 7 a.m. Thursday, November 12, until March 2021.
Read the original post (11/10) here.
Ozark Police Department
Please help us welcome our new officers to Ozark Police Department.

Officer Joshua Wahl
Joshua graduated from the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department Academy in September of 2020, but moved back to Southwest Missouri to be closer to home. Joshua previously worked for Cox Health Public Safety and was also a corrections officer for two years with the Christian County Sheriff's Office.

Officer Peter Bensing
Peter comes from the Republic Police Department with six years of law enforcement experience. Peter is a certified in Crisis Intervention Training, a certified Field Training Officer, and a certified Crime Scene Investigator. Prior to his employment with the Republic Police Department, Peter worked as a security officer at Mercy Hospital.

Officer Corey Hodzic
Corey comes from the Branson Police Department where he spent 6.5 years. During his time at Branson, Corey worked patrol, as a school resource officer and as a Field Training Officer. Prior to his time with the Branson Police Department, Corey worked for the Potosi Police Department, the Desloge Police Department and the Missouri Department of Corrections.

Officer Anthony Eakins
Anthony graduated from the Drury University Law Enforcement Academy in June of 2020. Anthony has a background in construction, but had a lifelong goal of having a career in law enforcement. Anthony is from Ozark and is excited about the opportunity to serve the community he grew up in.
Ozark Police Officers Association raises $2,000 through No Shave November!
On Nov. 25, the Ozark Police Officers Association presented a $2,000 check to the Branson Police Officers Association on behalf of Lt. Sean Barnwell and his family. Lt. Barnwell’s son Andrue is currently in a Texas Hospital receiving treatment for a rare bone cancer. The money was raised by officers participating in our annual No Shave November. We are grateful for the opportunity to help Sean and his family and we wish Andrue a speedy recovery.

We are so proud of our Ozark officers for raising $2,000 through No Shave November for Andrue Barnwell! We will be keeping him and his family in our thoughts, and encourage everyone to read the post below for more on Andrue and this donation.

Parks and Recreation Department
Marissa Hodges announced as Assistant Parks Director!
Marissa Hodges has been working in the City of Ozark's Parks and Recreation Department for nearly a decade. Previous to this promotion, she has worked both part time and as a full time Guest Relations Supervisor at The OC where her responsibilities included managing twenty-plus part-time staff across The OC's many amenities like the Kid Zone, and handling finances and customer service. Originally from Osceola, Missouri, Marissa is married with two children and loves staying active and spending time with friends and family. Please help us congratulate Marissa for her promotion and dedication to The City of Ozark!

Congratulations, Marissa!
Finley River Fishing For A Cause Charity Event!
We are so excited to announce the upcoming 2021 Finley River Fishing For A Cause Charity Event! Keep an eye on the Ozark Facebook Page for future updates.

Here's more about what it will entail: The Finley River Fishing For A Cause Charity Event will be a three-day event that will be held on Memorial Day weekend, Saturday through Monday. Anglers who participate are required to fish from kayaks or canoes and will submit fish through the CPR (catch, photo, release) method. There will also be a river cleanup held in conjunction with the fishing derby. Anyone can participate in the cleanup - they do not have to be a competitor. The river cleanup participants will receive raffle tickets for a drawing that will be held on Monday during the awards ceremony and expo. Monday's Expo will have an area for local businesses and sponsors to set up and promote their businesses, as well as local organizations such as CC Links and James River Basin Partnership.

Christmas Eve/Christmas Day Hours:
Dec. 24th - 5am to 12pm; NO Classes, NO Kid Zone; Pool closes at 11:30AM
CLOSED Dec. 25th
Snowdays Off at The OC
Learn more by clicking here.
Holiday Camp at The OC
Dec. 23, 28th, 29th, 30th, 31st and Jan. 4th
7am - 6pm
More info here.
Community Blood Drive
Ozark Community Center
Monday, Dec. 21, 2020
9:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Upcoming Programs and Events
Christmas Lights of Ozark
Begins November 13th!
5pm - 11pn
More info here.
Ozark Friday Night Parade of Lights
Friday, December 4: "Light Up the Square" ceremony & shop window decorating contest
Friday, December 11: Caroling, scavenger hunt, shops open late
Friday, December 18: Holiday light judging, winners will be announced