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Biblical Theme Park Plans May Meet Different Fates In Kentucky, Tennessee

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As a huge replica of Noah's Ark looks to prepare for a voyage to northern Kentucky, where it would anchor a proposed $150-million biblical theme park, former opponents of similar projects are warning that the park could end up being a massive boondoggle.

As The Lexington Herald-Leader reports, Murfreesboro and Lebanon, Tenn. both rejected plans for "Bible Park USA" on the grounds that the park's would-be developers couldn't back up their claims that new jobs and revenue they created would justify generous tax incentives and other accommodations.

"We just kept asking questions, and they couldn't provide any information," Dave Kirkey of Lebanon, one of the park's opponents, told the Herald-Leader. When the developers upped their request for tax incentives from $35 million to $60 million, he said, the town balked.

And despite preliminary approval for Kentucky's Ark Encounter to receive upward of $37 million in state funds to cover their costs, some appear worried that "public officials have not seen or released any financial information about Ark Encounter's investors," according to the Herald-Leader.

So far, the only information that Kentuckians have to judge the merits of the project on is an economic impact study conducted by Answers in Genesis, the group hoping to build the amusement park by 2014.

Final deliberations will rely on a separate economic feasibility study to be carried out by the state.

For more on Ark Encounter, check out The Lexington Herald-Leader's coverage.

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