We don’t need to remind you about the bonds being issued to finance the proposed Ark Encounter project, which will be operated by a company controlled by Answers in Genesis (AIG). AIG is the on-line ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the ayatollah of Appalachia. It also owns and operates the infamous, mind-boggling Creation Museum.
Our last post on this topic was ten days ago, the 04 Jan 2014 Update, when, as before, the news from Bloomberg was grim. They said:
A Kentucky theme park to be built around a full-scale replica of Noah’s Ark may sink unless investors purchase about $29 million in unrated municipal bonds by Feb. 6.
The still-needed $29 million was in addition to all the other funds that had been previously raised. And if that goal isn’t met, then all the money from bond sales must be refunded. They also quoted Hambo as blaming his problems on the atheists, who were somehow disrupting the bond sale.
We keep looking for news, but Hambo’s website has been silent (which says a lot) and the financial press isn’t flogging the subject, so an eerie silence is all we’ve heard for the past ten days. But today we found something at the website of Cincinnati public radio station WVXU: Developers believe: Noah’s Ark will happen.
This isn’t a story from the financial press, but Cincinnati isn’t far from Hambo’s operation, so the radio station dug up what they could and it’s the only information we can find. Here are some excerpts, with our bold font added for emphasis:
2014 was supposed to bring the opening of a huge replica of Noah’s Ark in a theme park just off I-75 at Williamstown, Kentucky. But the developers are having trouble raising funds.
The hundred acre site for the multi-million dollar version of Noah’s Ark is about a 40 miles south of Cincinnati. But all you can see on the hill-top site today are posts marking the perimeter of what promoters hope will be a wooden replica of the ark, three stories high and 500 feet long. That’s almost one and a half football fields.
“All you can see on the hill-top site today are posts.” Why does that remind us of Shelley’s poem, Ozymandias:
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. …
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
Too melancholy? Okay, never mind. Let’s read on from the news story:
A key executive of the development firm [probably Mike Zovath, senior vice president of AIG] says the ark will be the largest timber framed structure in the United States, possibly the world.
Wowie! The article continues:
“We want to present the ark as a plausible event in history,” says Zovath. “And that if that piece of biblical history is true then Jesus Christ’s coming to earth and giving his life as a payment for our sins is equally true.”
Nobody could argue with that. Here’s more:
“We just want to make sure that people who have doubts come and see the actual ark to show people this can be built. It can be done,” Zovath says.
An admirable attitude! Moving along:
Funding Ark Encounter hasn’t been easy. Zovath says more than $14 million has been donated. But $73 million is needed to start construction and at least $125 million for the whole project, according to Answers in Genesis.
Late last year, the city of Williamstown offered a bond issue hoping investors would make up the difference. The bond closing was set for December but is now extended until at least February. People closely connected with the bond issue will not answer questions. But investment experts point out that the bonds aren’t secure, are highly speculative, and a risky bet.
That’s interesting. The sale of the bonds has been “extended until at least February.” That could mean that if Hambo can’t raise the funds by the latest deadline of 06 Feb, the underwriters will have yet another go at it. Hey — why not? Another excerpt:
Darrell Link, the judge executive of Grant County, is among Kentucky political leaders backing the project as a major tourist attraction. “I suppose that we’ll find out in the next year or two just how quickly this is going to be a reality,” Link said.
It would be silly for us to refer to him as “Missing Link,” so we won’t do it. Besides, he’s not missing. Other then Zovath, he’s the only person willing to talk. On with the article:
Rick Skinner, the mayor of Williamstown, who was a key figure in the bond issue offering, is among those who declined to comment at this time.
Why won’t those people talk about this thing? Ah well, that makes it more exciting. Everybody likes a good mystery. Here’s one last excerpt:
“The whole project, just like the museum project, is really a matter of God’s timing as he moves people to donate or buy bonds or do other things to help the project along,” Zovath says.
Zovath says the ark will open two years after construction starts. When they start construction, he adds, is out of their control.
So there you are, dear reader. Will the funds be raised? Will Hambo’s ark be built? AIG says it’s out of their control. Wise words indeed.
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