LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The founder of a Bible-themed museum in Kentucky who debated evolution with TV’s “Science Guy” Bill Nye will give an update Thursday on a stalled project to build a massive replica of Noah’s Ark.
Creation Museum founder Ken Ham will discuss financing of the Ark Encounter plans during a live stream on the project’s website Thursday night.
The Answers in Genesis ministry, which Ham leads, unveiled the $150 million theme park proposal in 2010. But private donations to the project did not keep pace with the construction timeline, forcing its backers to delay construction of the 500-foot-long wooden ship and divide the park development into phases.
Ham wrote on his blog this week that he would soon “discuss the debate and also … share something about the Ark Encounter.”
Ham’s ministry and the Creation Museum enjoyed an avalanche of news media attention during the Feb. 4 debate on evolution and the Bible with Nye, which was streamed live on the Web. Answers in Genesis said millions around the world watched the event at the Creation Museum, and it was followed by numerous national news reports and TV talk show discussions.
Ham has said the debate introduced to a wider audience his ministry’s views that the Bible’s creation story is a true historical account.
The debate was a smashing success, but the ark project for a few years has been a sore subject for the ministry, which had raised about $14 million in private donations for the first phase of the theme park, according to the Ark Encounter website. That phase, which includes the ark build, is projected to cost more than $70 million.
Ham and local elected leaders in Grant County where the ark would be built have also sought to fund the project with $62 million in municipal bonds issued by the city of Williamstown, where the park would be located. The site is about 40 miles south of Cincinnati. If approved, the bonds would be repaid through revenue from the park.
Ham is planning to discuss the efforts to raise funds for the bond issue on Thursday.
The wooden ark would have old-world details, such as wooden pegs instead of nails, straight-sawed timbers and plenty of animals — some alive, some robotic.