FRANKFORT, Ky. (BP)–Kentucky state officials gave final approval May 19 to tax incentives for a full-scale reproduction of Noah’s Ark that will be built south of Cincinnati and cost nearly $150 million.
The state’s Tourism Development Finance Authority unanimously approved tax incentives that will allow Ark Encounter LLC to recover up to 25 percent of its construction costs through sales tax rebates if it meets attendance and sales projections.
Groundbreaking in Grant County, Ky., for the Bible-themed attraction is tentatively set for August, with a targeted opening in 2014.
Answers in Genesis, the same group that is behind the Creation Museum, is partnering with another group to build the Ark Encounter. Private funds are being used.
According to a press release, the attraction will include a walled city, a first-century Middle Eastern village, a tower of Babel and a petting zoo. The idea is to attract visitors who will want to attend not only the Ark reproduction but also the Creation Museum.
An analysis by Hunden Strategic Partners shows the ark will draw 1.2 million visitors the first year and have a $119 million impact on the state the first 10 years.
For information, visit ArkEncounter.com.
RECORD NUMBER OF FOSTER KIDS FIND FAMILIES — In 2009, 57,000 U.S. kids in foster care found forever families, up from 37,000 in 1998, according to a Child Trends study reported in The Washington Times. The number represents a record high.
Kelly Rosati, vice president of community outreach at Focus on the Family, said the Christian church is to thank for some of the progress. “We’ve been excited to see an increase in the willingness of Christians to simply ask themselves, ‘Does God want to use the blessing of our family on behalf of a child without one?'” she said. “And as Christians across the country continue to pray that prayer, I think we’re going to see these numbers increase.” Researchers also found that the number of children waiting for adoption fell to a record low of 115,000 in 2009, down from 135,000 three years earlier. The average wait to be adopted fell to a record low 35 months, down from 48 months in 1998.
CENSUS: MARRIAGES ARE LASTING LONGER — After years of increases in the U.S. divorce rate, more marriages are staying together. The U.S. Census reports that three out of four people who got married after 1990 were still married 10 years later. That is up 3 percentage points from the 1980s, when divorce hit a record high. Nationwide, an estimated 4 in 10 marriages end in divorce.
“Marriage has become a much more selective institution in today’s society,” W. Bradford Wilcox, director of The National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, told The Washington Post. “People who are college-educated, more affluent or more religious are more likely to get married and stay married. People who are not are less likely to get married in the first place, and if they do marry, they’re more likely to divorce.”
According to the census statistics, more than half of the nation’s married couples have been together at least 15 years. About a third have marked their 25th anniversaries, and 6 percent have been married more than 50 years.
Compiled by Michael Foust, associate editor of Baptist Press. The foster children and census items are courtesy of World News Service.