Posted: Dec 22, 2010 10:22 AM
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - A group of investors looking to build a replica of Noah's Ark as part of a proposed $172 million theme park cleared its first bureaucratic hurdle.
The Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority granted preliminary approval Monday for state tax incentives for the project. An economic analysis must be done before being considered for final approval.
Mike Zovath, co-founder of the Answers in Genesis ministry that opened the Creation Museum in Kentucky three years ago, said investors are looking to build a full-scale replica of the ark in what would be an expansive theme park that could draw some 1.6 million visitors a year.
Investors, attracted by Kentucky's tourism tax incentives, are considering an 800-acre site near Williamstown, just off Interstate 75.
Gov. Steve Beshear, who gave the proposal in a Capitol news conference earlier this month, has said he favors tax incentives for the ark park that is projected to create about 900 permanent jobs and have a $214 million economic impact in its first year of operation. Detractors object to the state providing tax incentives for a project with a religious theme.
The theme park would include an ancient walled city, a petting zoo, live animal shows featuring giraffes and elephants and a replica of the biblical Tower of Babel.