Founders of Northern Kentucky’s controversial Creation Museum said Thursday that enough money has been raised to proceed with a biblical theme park built around a 510-foot replica of Noah’s Ark.

The museum and its founder, President Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis, gained national attention earlier this month after a debate with Science Guy Bill Nye.

“We’re going to begin construction, and this is going to be great for the area,” Ham said in an online announcement, indicating the 800-acre Ark Encounter park would open in summer 2016. “Let’s build the ark.”

The organization’s website said it has raised $14.4 million in private donations toward the $24.5 million needed to build the ark alone. The complete first phase would total more than $70 million, officials have said. They did not say how much they had raised from a $62 million municipal bond offering.

Along with the wooden ark, which Ham said would be the largest timber-frame structure in the USA, the park eventually would include a pre-flood themed area, live animal shows and a Tower of Babel featuring a special-effects theater and a 1st-century village.

Northern Kentucky officials, including Williamstown Mayor Rick Skinner, said the project would bring hundreds of jobs and attract hotels and restaurants to a largely rural community about 50 miles south of Cincinnati.

“We’re happy to be the home of the ark,” Skinner said… see more

source: usatoday