Things were already spiraling out of control for the Ark Encounter project promoted by Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia, famed for his creationist ministry, Answers in Genesis (AIG) and for the infamous, mind-boggling Creation Museum.
Now it looks even worse. In the Courier-Journal of Louisville, Kentucky (not far from ol’ Hambo’s Creation Museum) we read Report lowers Ark Park attendance projections. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
The proposed Noah’s Ark theme park in Northern Kentucky would attract between 425,000 and 640,000 visitors in its best year, according to a consultant who studied the project’s economic impact for the state. That’s far less than an estimate of as many as 1.24 million visitors by the consultant in 2011 when a larger theme park was being planned, and less than project developers have said will be drawn to the attraction in Boone County.
Wow — the old projection predicted a high of 1.24 million visitors, and the new one shows a high of only 640,000 — that’s about half what was originally projected. What happened? We’re told:
The study was commissioned by the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet as part of its review of Ark Encounter’s application for up to $18.25 million in state tax incentives. Although the project is smaller and would attract fewer visitors the previously estimated, the consultant concluded the project met the state requirement of having an economic benefit qualifying to the state incentives.
Yes, but the state won’t give Hambo the sales tax kickbacks because of his discriminatory hiring practices. So now, not only has he lost all those anticipated millions from sales taxes, his projected visitors are vanishing. It’s a secularist conspiracy! Let’s read on:
Mike Zovath, coordinator of the Ark Encounter project, could not be reached immediately Wednesday for a response to the estimates within the Hunden report. [The Hunden Group seems to be the outfit that conducted the new study.] But Ken Ham, chief executive of Ark Encounter’s parent organization, Answers in Genesis, said in a posting on his organization’s website last October that “the full-size Noah’s Ark, when it opens in 2016, is estimated to attract up to 2 million visitors a year.”
Two million visitors a year or 640,000. Who cares? Well, maybe the project’s owners care. Maybe their bondholders care. But do we care? Yes, but only if it sends Hambo into a sputtering frenzy. Another excerpt:
The Hunden Group’s report in 2011 on the initial, larger proposal estimated attendance at between 871,383 to 1.24 million visitors per year.
Aha! Hunden made both projections. It should be interesting to see Hambo’s response. Our response is BWAHAHAHAHAHA! But wait — there’s more:
The group’s new report on the smaller project considered two scenarios. One anticipated a “a mainstream approach to the attraction,” and a second that assumed “a more religious-focused approach that may present a specific viewpoint” more associated with the Creation Museum, an existing attraction owned by Answers in Genesis in Boone County.
Under the “mainstream” scenario, the report estimates the project would draw just less than 500,000 in its first year — a number that would rise to 640,000 visitors in its third year, then level off at about 400,000 in the seventh year.
What about the other scenario? Here it is:
Under the other scenario where the public considers the attraction “more religious-focused,” the project would attract 325,000 visitors in its first year, a little more than 425,000 in the third year, then settle at about 275,000 in year seven.
That’s not good for ol’ Hambo. He’s got to react to this. Stay tuned to this blog!
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