Grow Neosho looks to expand Gateway to the Ozarks community


The non-profit organization, Grow Neosho, is working towards attracting a brand name hotel and a destination restaurant on Highway 60 off of I-49.

“We would like to locate a brand-name hotel that will be a Hilton, Marriott, Holiday Inn Express, and with that, hopefully bring a restaurant or two with it to help develop additional retail out there,” explained Jake Heisten with Grow Neosho.

But, there are several factors to consider for those businesses to come.

“They look at interstate access,” Heisten continued. “They also look at traffic counts within the town, they look at industry and business within the town.”

Heisten says the 2020 census will also be a big contributor to developers coming. The last census count was more than 12,000 and organization leaders hope the numbers will be much higher this time.

“With the census coming up next year, we know hopefully that will bolster our numbers — hopefully much more than we think,” Heisten added. “We know Neosho is growing, but we need to quantify that and put a number to it because that’s what a lot of those developers look for.”

“The more there is to do in a community, the more people will stay and trade dollars, which is good for our economy and allows more leisure activities for the people that live here,” Neosho business owner Jeff Werneke explained.

Grow Neosho is committed to city expansion as well as helping current businesses grow.

“Ultimately, you do want to keep that recruitment piece and bring some new industry in or maybe some folks in current industry supply chain, but at the same time, we want to work on growing our current industry and business base,” said Heinsten. “And we do that through the Neosho School District, through Crowder College and hopefully create and grow our own talent.”

“People want to have that feeling of knowing their neighbor and we have that, but we have to make people aware that we are here,” Werneke added.

Heisten says Grow Neosho is still waiting on final approval from a brand name hotel to come.

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