“Ark Encounter” update

I previously reported on plans to build a full-size replica ark (and theme park) in Williamstown, Kentucky.

Well, they’ve had problems with funding but it still might proceed.

The project is currently in the design phase. Not enough private donations have come in to start construction, and building permits will not be ready until November, according to Ark Encounter co-founder and Senior Vice President Michael Zovath.

The project has $12.3-million in hand and $12.7-million more in committed donations; it needs $23-million more to start building the ark alone. Zovath does not know when that will happen.

Like Noah before the Flood, the builders are in a bit of a time crunch, since Kentucky tourism tax incentives for the project are set to expire in May 2014.

The longer it takes to start building the $150-million park, originally planned to open in spring 2014, the less the project stands to gain from the rebates, which allow it to receive up to 25 percent of project costs over 10 years from sales taxes generated by the business.

Zovath said the project may refile for the incentives, which critics argue are a violation of the constitutional divide between church and state. If the rebates applied to the full project cost, they could amount to $37.5-million.

My opinion: they are aiming too high. Surely they could build an ark worth visiting for much less?

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