Ky. governor welcomes biblical theme park

Dec. 1, 2010 at 1:12 PM

FRANKFORT, Ky., Dec. 1 (UPI) -- A biblical theme park sponsored by Answers in Genesis will give an economic boost to northern Kentucky, Gov. Steve Beshear said Wednesday.

Beshear said the project, a joint venture by the non-profit group behind the Creation Museum in Boone, Ky., and Ark Encounters LLC, a for-profit company, is likely to be successful in getting state tourism tax credits, The (Louisville) Courier-Journal reported.

"Make no mistake about it, this is a huge deal," Beshear said at a news conference at the state capitol in Frankfort.

Plans for the park include a 500-foot Noah's Ark, a Tower of Babel and replicas of a walled city and of a Middle Eastern village from around the time of Christ. In addition to the animals on board the ark, there will be a live animal show and a bird display.

Beshear said the developers could get as much as $37.5 million in tax breaks. They can recover up to 25 percent of the cost of the park -- proposed at $150 million -- from the sales taxes paid by visitors.

The governor said the tax breaks do not violate the establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution.

"Whatever groups want to come in here and talk about investing and creating tourist attractions, we are certainly open to talking with them," he said when asked if he would hold a news conference to announce an atheist or Islamic park.

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