KY tourism board approves Ark project in Grant County

WILLIAMSTOWN, KY (FOX19) - The Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority met Thursday and gave final or preliminary approval to several tourism and film projects, including the new 'Ark Encounter' in Grant County.

The authority considers applications under the Kentucky Tourism Development Act, which allows eligible tourism attractions a rebate of sales tax up to 25 percent of project capitol costs over a 10 year period. Projects must meet certain criteria to be eligible such as having a positive economic impact for the Commonwealth and the rebate is based on performance.

The authority gave final approval to plans by Ark Encounter, LCC for a theme park in Grant County with an investment of $172.5 million. The maximum incentive available would be $43.125 million over 10 years. The incentives come from the sales tax generated by the project.

The authority heard a report from Hunden Strategic Partners that showed the Ark Encounter project met the criteria of the Kentucky Tourism Development Act, which includes requirements that the project attract at least 25 percent of visitors from outside the state by the fourth year of operation and that it has a positive impact on the Kentucky economy.

The report also said the net fiscal impact on the state would be between $64.6 million and $119 million over 10 years in sales and income tax above and beyond the incentive, depending upon several variables on the projected attendance.

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