Creationist blames dreadful attendance at Ark theme park on tax-starved city not supplying ‘tourist services’
The creationist behind Kentucky’s failing “Ark Encounter’ theme park is at it again.
Ken Ham, the president and CEO of “Christian apologist ministry” Answers in Genesis, penned an op-ed that once again deflects the blame for the failure of his Noah’s Ark replica theme park. This time, Ham argued that the culprit is Williamstown which footed the $92 million bill for the park that now graces their city for not providing enough infrastructure to accommodate visitors to their new “attraction.”
“Williamstown, where the Ark is located, doesn’t have the tourist-related services that Dry Ridge [a neighboring tourist trap] has, so it needs more businesses like hotels and restaurants if it hopes to experience the growth that Dry Ridge is now enjoying,” Ham wrote.
There are a slew of problems with Ham’s reasoning. As Hemant Mehta at The Friendly Atheist points out, Williamstown has received no financial incentives to stoke growth in the area because Ham negotiated a “ridiculously low” 30-year property tax rate for the taxpayer-funded park. Ham is also garnishing his employees’ paychecks to help repay the loans taken out to complete the park.
According to a Patheos article published while the park was still under construction, employees are subject to a two percent “job assessment fee on gross wages.”
“In other words,” the article continued, “$2 out of every pre-tax $100 dollars you make will go directly to paying off the for-profit Noah’s Ark attraction.”
Additionally, Answers in Genesis and the Ark have yet to pay the town’s “safety fee” that contributes to a fund to upgrade emergency response equipment, a fund that “would help make it even more of a tourist destination.”
Williamstown has plenty of reasons to not want to spend more money on the for-profit Christian theme park, especially because the Ark won’t even hire members of the town’s community unless they ascribe to the same fundamentalist beliefs of Ham.
This isn’t the first time Ham has tried to pin the blame on his expensive and ambitious project away from himself. A few weeks ago, Ham complained to a local news outlet that atheists protesting the park were the reason it hadn’t lived up to his expectations.