From the Business Courier: http://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2011/05/19/kentucky-approvestax-incentives-for.html
Kentucky approves tax incentives for Ark Encounter
Business CourierDate: Thursday, May 19, 2011, 4:49pm EDT
The Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority gave final approval today to grant tax incentives for the Ark Encounter project in Grant County.
The authority gave final approval to plans by Ark Encounter LLC for a theme park with an investment of $172.5 million. The project’s maximum incentive would be more than $43.1 million over 10 years, coming from the sales tax generated by the project.
The Business Courier broke the story in November about the proposed development halfway between Cincinnati and Lexington.
Ark Encounter plans to build a Noah’s Ark-themed amusement park, expected to create 900 full- and part-time jobs on a 300-acre site.
Ark Encounter is partnering with Answers in Genesis to build the attraction. Answers in Genesis is best known for the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky., which has drawn 1 million visitors in its first three years of operation.
Hunden Strategic Partners presented a report to the authority showing Ark Encounter would meet the criteria of attracting at least 25 percent of visitors from outside the state by the fourth year of operation and that it would have a positive impact on the state’s economy.
The net fiscal impact on the state would be between $64.6 million and $119 million during the 10 years in sales and income tax above and beyond the incentive, depending upon several variable on the projected attendance.
The authority considers applications under the Kentucky Tourism Development Act, which allows eligible tourism attractions a rebate of sales tax of up to 25 percent of project capitol over a 10-year period.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State said bringing jobs to the state isn’t enough for the state to promote a religious enterprise like the Ark Encounter.
“The state of Kentucky should not be promoting the spread of fundamentalist Christianity or any other religious viewpoint,” Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United, said in a news release. “Let these folks build their fundamentalist Disneyland without government help.”