Tax Breaks Approved for Bible Theme Park

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Visitors could soon be imagining the journey of Noah and his family aboard a full-size replica of Noah's Ark.

The Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority awarded $50 million in tax breaks Thursday to Ark Encounter after a three-month study. The ministry wants to build a biblical theme park in Williamstown.

The Ark Encounter is being touted as a one-of-a-kind historically-themed attraction. Besides a full-size, all-wood Noah's Ark, the park will also have a reconstructed Tower of Babel, a walk through aviary, and other exhibits.

Ark Encounter is collaborating with Ken Ham's Answers in Genesis on the project. Answers in Genesis is same group that opened the Creation Museum in the Blue Grass State four years ago. Officials say they will break ground in August for the new project.

When completed in 2014, the park is expected to draw 1.4 million visitors a year.

Construction on the park is estimated to cost around $150 million. Park officials say it should employ nearly 550 full-time jobs.

Ham also told CNN that the park would bring in an estimated $250 million to the state just in the first year alone.

The park is not without its critics. Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director for Americans United said in a statement that "the state of Kentucky should not be promoting the spread of Christianity or any other religious viewpoint."

"Let these folks build their fundamentalist Disneyland without government help," Lynn said.

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