Noah’s ark project in Kentucky to move forward


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A Christian ministry’s long-stalled plans to build Noah’s Ark in the hills of
Kentucky have been revived.
Museum founder Ken Ham announced Thursday that a municipal bond
offering has raised enough money to begin construction on the Ark
Encounter project, estimated to cost about $73 million. Groundbreaking
is planned for May and the ark is expected to be finished by the summer
of 2016.
Ham said a high-profile evolution debate he had with "Science Guy" Bill Nye on Feb. 4 helped
boost support for the project.
said he was "heartbroken and sickened for the Commonwealth of Kentucky"
after learning that the project would move forward. He said the ark
would eventually draw more attention to the beliefs of Ham’s ministry,
which preaches that the Bible’s creation story is a true account, and as
a result, "voters and taxpayers in Kentucky will eventually see that
this is not in their best interest."
Ham’s Answers in Genesis
ministry and the Creation Museum enjoyed an avalanche of news media
attention during the debate, which focused on science and the Bible’s
explanations of the origins of the universe.
Answers in Genesis
unveiled the proposal in 2010 for a $150 million theme park that would
include the ark. But private donations to the project did not keep pace
with the construction timeline, forcing its backers to delay the ark’s
construction and divide the park development into phases. The bonds were
offered last year by the city of Williamstown, site of the planned ark
about 40 miles south of Cincinnati.
Ham said the bond issue faced
many obstacles, including what he called misleading news media reports
and attempts by opponents to disrupt the bond offering.
Ham would
not disclose the total amount of bond funds raised because of
underwriter restrictions. But a December bond document describing the
project listed the amount at $62 million. Mark Looy, a vice president
with Answers in Genesis, said the figure is less than $62 million, and
that the minimum funding requirement was achieved.
Nye brushed off
a question about whether he might be criticized for taking part in a
debate that boosted fundraising for the ark.
"Me? I’ve always been criticized," he said.
The bonds are to be repaid through revenue from the park, and the city is not liable for the money,
according to bond documents.
wooden ark would have old-world details, such as wooden pegs instead of
nails, straight-sawed timbers and plenty of animals — some alive, some
The Creation Museum opened in 2007 and has been
criticized by scientists as an affront to evolution science. Ham said
Thursday that 2 million visitors have entered the museum since it
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