Op-Ed

Economic benefits of Ark Park unfairly downplayed

The Ark Encounter in Williamstown features a Noah’s Ark that was built based on dimensions given in the Bible. It is 510 feet long, 85 feet wide and 51 feet high. Ark Encounter is about to celebrate a year of operation.
The Ark Encounter in Williamstown features a Noah’s Ark that was built based on dimensions given in the Bible. It is 510 feet long, 85 feet wide and 51 feet high. Ark Encounter is about to celebrate a year of operation. cbertram@herald-leader.com

If a Christian medical doctor at a Baptist hospital in Lexington found a cure for cancer that saved the lives of nine out of 10 patients, the headline in the Herald-Leader next morning might read: “Baptist doctor fails to heal all cancer patients.”

That’s the kind of approach this paper recently took when it attempted to dismiss the undeniable positive economic impact that our Bible-themed attraction, the Ark Encounter, has had on the region. The paper’s bias against biblical Christianity has once again reared its head.

By not citing government statistics, a major tourism award, and business leaders that can attest to the tremendous economic benefits that our tourist attraction has had on the region, this paper decided instead to focus on one small city — that has few tourist amenities — to engage in yet another attack on the Ark.

It was laughable to read how the unfortunate failure of a furniture store in that town was connected to the Ark’s supposed lack of economic impact. Now, how many Herald-Leader readers make sure to buy furniture when they visit Disneyworld in Orlando?

Ultimately, such articles are counter-productive. They undermine the efforts of Grant County and the state to spur business and create jobs.

We are aware of a prestigious builder in Northern Kentucky who is reluctant to construct hotels in the region because he has heard, apparently through the media, that the Ark is supposedly not successful.

The Ark Encounter could accommodate more than 8,000 people a day (our record day) and generate more revenue for the county and state if not for the lack of hotels, not furniture stores.

We’re thrilled with attendance. The Ark welcomed 6,500 guests on a recent Saturday, and the busiest part of the tourist season is still to come. Owners of tourist-related businesses in Northern Kentucky are ecstatic. But you might never know of the Ark’s exceptional economic impact because of the paper’s ongoing antipathy toward Christianity.

Citizens of Grant County should be up in arms about this article. As they finally see their economy growing (Dry Ridge, just north of the Ark, is booming because it has many amenities that cater to tourists), residents should be upset that this paper’s unfair coverage may hinder development and job creation.

Ken Ham is CEO/president of Answers in Genesis/Ark Encounter.

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