by Dan Gibson
Are you sick of traditional amusement parks with their tolerance for diverse ideas and attempts to entertain you? You'll have to wait until 2014, but soon you'll be able to take your family to Kentucky to see a "full-size replica of Noah's Ark", a petting zoo and some other stuff. Even better? A lot of it will be financed through government tax breaks!:
The city of Williamstown in Grant County has agreed to give a biblically themed amusement park a property tax discount of 75 percent over the next 30 years.
Mayor Rick Skinner said the offer is laid out in a memorandum of agreement that will be followed by a formal tax-increment financing deal with Petersburg-based Ark Encounters LLC in coming months.
The tax deal is in addition to almost $200,000 given to the company by Grant County's economic development arm as an enticement to keep the project located there, along with 100 acres of reduced-price land.
And that's not counting the state's promise of $40 million worth of sales tax rebates and a possible $11 million in improvements to the interstate near the project that would be financed by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.
Officials say the theme park, which will feature a full-size replica of Noah's Ark, is generally supported in Grant County, but the array of state and local incentives worry some people, who aren't sure they will pay off in the end.