Eminence mayor is all about outdoors

06/06/2014 3:18 PM

06/07/2014 5:06 PM

On today’s mayoral agenda: fishing, hunting, canoeing and tourism.

That wouldn’t be a stretch at Jim Anderson’s office in Eminence, population 600.

His honor is all about the outdoors, whether it be floating the Current or Jacks Fork rivers or using the natural wonders of the area to promote tourism.

“You only have to go a few miles out of town to be in the middle of some of the region’s most beautiful scenery,” said Anderson, 54. “But we’re still relatively a secret.

“I’ve gone to West Plains (about 60 miles away), and people have told me they have never heard of Eminence. We’re trying to put our town on the map.”

Anderson is a big believer in the product he is trying to sell. He is a lifetime fisherman and hunter, and enjoys everything from casting for smallmouth bass to hunting turkeys in the rugged country he calls home.

“Everyone around here knows that I like to fish and hunt,” Anderson said. “I don’t get as much of a chance to get out, now that I’m mayor. But I still make time.”

Anderson labels he and his wife, Jeanie, as “corporate dropouts.” At one time, he was in middle management and was traveling extensively for his job.

But the Andersons got to the point where they desired an abrupt turnaround in their lives, so they began looking into buying a resort or marina on a reservoir in southwest Missouri.

Eventually, they purchased a resort in Eminence and worked to renovate it. Today, they run Shady Lane Cabins and Motel, and welcome guests to the Ozarks.

Anderson looks out for more than his business, though. He promotes Eminence and its tourism potential as a whole.

“The two main industries in Shannon County are logging and tourism,” Anderson said. “But we still have a lot of potential for growth in tourism.

“We’re trying appeal to families. Some people had a negative experience with partyers years ago, and they stopped coming here.

“But they (the National Park Service) has cut that way back. People can still come here and have a great time, but it’s more of a family atmosphere now.”

To reach outdoors editor Brent Frazee, call 816-234-4319 or send email to bfrazee@kcstar.com.

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