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Ark Encounter owners ‘blindsided’ by new tax that could raise ticket prices

Reactions to Ark Encounter opening

Answers in Genesis researchers Georgia Purdom and Dr. Andrew Snelling recount the reactions they had seen from guests during opening day of the Noah's ark replica at Ark Encounter park in Williamstown on July 7th.
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Answers in Genesis researchers Georgia Purdom and Dr. Andrew Snelling recount the reactions they had seen from guests during opening day of the Noah's ark replica at Ark Encounter park in Williamstown on July 7th.

The proprietors of a gigantic wooden Noah’s Ark in Williamstown are steamed about a new “safety assessment” tax that will collect 50 cents for every admission ticket sold, according to the Grant County News.

Ark Encounter spokesman Mike Zovath told the newspaper that Ark officials will now have to consider raising ticket prices, which are $40 for adults and $28 for children.

“I can understand … how they decided to justify the tax, but the lack of transparency between the city council and mayor and the Ark Encounter is what’s really disturbing,” Zovath told the Grant County News. “We’ve been trying to work with the city and work with the mayor to do everything we can to help improve Williamstown, and to get blindsided like this was really a surprise.”

The $100 million theme park opened last July with what creators say is a life-size depiction of the boat that Noah and his family would have traveled on during a biblical flood, including dinosaurs they claim existed at the same time. Ark officials have predicted attendance of 600,000 visitors in the first year.

Williamstown Mayor Rick Skinner said the fee will help upgrade the city’s emergency equipment, which might need to be used at Ark Encounter, or the other businesses affected by the tax, the Williamstown Family Fun Park.

Grant County is facing a severe budget crisis, partly caused by issues at the county jail, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. Although the state, county and city governments put together a generous package of incentives for Ark Encounter, it’s not clear how much revenue the attraction is bringing to Williamstown.

A group of protesters and supporters clashed outside the Ark Encounter in Northern Kentucky as it opened to the public Thursday.

Linda Blackford: 859-231-1359, @lbblackford

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