Thursday, July 06, 2017

Ken Ham Deflects Blame For Poor Attendance of Ark Encounter

The rumors have been hard to ignore.  What began as an estimate of 2 million visitors to the Ark Encounter by Ken Ham have now sunk to 1.4 million.  First, Ham blamed atheists for running a negative publicity campaign, despite the fact that such a campaign never really took off.  Now, he is blaming the town of Williamstown for not providing the infrastructure necessary to accommodate the visitors to the park.  Raw Story writes:
Ken Ham, the president and CEO of “Christian apologist ministry” Answers in Genesis, penned an op-ed that once again deflects the blame for the failure of his Noah’s Ark replica theme park. This time, Ham argued that the culprit is Williamstown which footed the $92 million bill for the park that now graces their city for not providing enough infrastructure to accommodate visitors to their new “attraction.”

“Williamstown, where the Ark is located, doesn’t have the tourist-related services that Dry Ridge [a neighboring tourist trap] has, so it needs more businesses like hotels and restaurants if it hopes to experience the growth that Dry Ridge is now enjoying,” Ham wrote.

There are a slew of problems with Ham’s reasoning. As Hemant Mehta at The Friendly Atheist points out, Williamstown has received no financial incentives to stoke growth in the area because Ham negotiated a “ridiculously low” 30-year property tax rate for the taxpayer-funded park. Ham is also garnishing his employees’ paychecks to help repay the loans taken out to complete the park.
The other problem is that the county is nearly bankrupt and has seen no impact from the theme park. Ham negotiated a very low (and somewhat peculiar) agreement with the county to get the Park off the ground and the county has seen no economic impact from it.  People go to visit the park but don't go to the local establishments to eat once they have seen it.  This did not go the way the good people of Williamstown wanted it to go.

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