Construction of Ark-based theme park to begin in Kentucky

Feb. 28, 2014 at 10:40 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky., Feb. 28 (UPI) -- Enough funds have been raised to begin construction of a Kentucky theme park based on the biblical story of Noah's Ark, its developers say.

Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis, said Thursday his company had raised $14.4 million of the $24.5 million needed to build the ark, the (Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal reported.

The 510-foot replica will be the centerpiece of an "Ark Encounter" theme park to be built on 800 acres near Williamstown. Total cost of the park is estimated at more than $120 million.

Ham, creator of the Creation Museum, said on the company website the park would also include an area that would depict the biblical world before the flood, live animal shows and a "Tower of Babel" with a special-effects theater and a first-century village.

Plans for the park were announced in 2010, but funding had been slow to find.

Up to $43.1 million in sales tax rebates, spread over 10 years, were approved by the Kentucky tourism development board in 2011. Williamstown officials last year offered $62 million in municipal bonds to get the project moving. After initial sales were slow, the offering was extended in December.

Answers in Genesis, which purchased some of the bonds, will repay them with park revenue. The city has no financial obligation.

Groundbreaking for the park is expected in May.

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