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Ark park in dispute over flood pledge

by
17 October 2014

by a staff reporter

ARK ENCOUNTER

THE man behind plans for a giant Noah's Ark theme park in the United States, Mike Zovath, is in dispute with state officials, after they threatened to withdraw tax incentives if he forced employees to sign a faith statement professing belief in the biblical flood.

The theme park Ark Encounter (above), which is planned to open in Kentucky in 2016, is not recruiting yet, but its parent company already asks employees to sign a faith statement to say that they believe in creationism and the flood.

State officials have threatened to withhold promised tax incentives to the theme park if it used a similar statement in its hiring process, and have asked for written assurances that it will not.

Mr Zovath, who is executive president of Ark Encounter, told Reuters: "We're hoping the state takes a hard look at their position, and changes their position so it doesn't go further than this."

Mr Zovath, who is also co- founder of the parent company Answers in Genesis, said that if tax incentives for the project were withdrawn because it did not give the written assurances that the state now sought, it would violate the organisation's rights under the First Amendment and the state constitution.

Ark Encounter had been given permission to collect a rebate from a portion of the sales-tax revenues - an incentive thought to be worth more than $18 million over ten years.

Plans for the theme park include a giant replica of the Ark, and other biblical-themed attractions. The project is estimated to cost $150 million.

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