Australian creationist Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter, a taxpayer-subsidized re-creation of Noah’s Ark in Williamstown, Ky., is not providing the economic boost local officials had hoped for.
“It’s been a great thing but it’s not brought us any money,” Grant County Judge-Executive Steve Wood told Lexington’s WKYT-TV recently. “I was one of those believers that once the Ark was here everything was going to come in. But it’s not done it. It’s not done it. I think the Ark’s done well and I’m glad for them on that. But it’s not done us good at all.”
Grant County remains economically distressed. As the TV station noted, the county is facing a budget shortfall and plans to raise taxes to close the gap.
Ham was able to build the park in part due to state help. He sued to be allowed to take part in a program designed to spur tourism. Under the program, all of the sales taxes the park charges for things like tickets, souvenirs and food are refunded to the park once a year.