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View Diary: Kentucky's Noah's Ark Theme Park - When a Recession, Culture, and Political Pandering Collide (112 comments)

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  •  I made these points when last this issue flared... (2+ / 0-)
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    elfling, Catte Nappe

    I'm no fan of the Ark Encounter project, but let's keep our facts straight.

    For starters, there's this:

    Grant County is rural, so it is not exactly off of a major highway or interstate.
    Did you even look at a map?  Grant County STRADDLES INTERSTATE 75!  That's one of the major north-south Interstates, running from Michigan to Florida.  Williamstown is roughly 1.5 miles from Exit 154 on I-75.  It's only 20 miles from the junction of I-75 and I-71; the latter connects to I-65, another major north/south Interstate, in Louisville KY.  

    I made the following points in an earlier diary on this subject.  I think that point #4 is particularly germane.

    1) As far as I can tell, the Governor does not have direct veto power over these decisions by the Tourism Board.  Their mandate is to increase tourism.  They obviously feel that this creationist theme park will do just that.  Consider the alternative - if some Governor were stepping in to overrule his Tourism Board on ideological grounds with which you disagreed, you'd be up in arms, yes?

    2) This is the state that elected Mitch McConnell AND Rand Paul.  Our congressional delegation runs 8-2 GOP, and my Representative (Blue Dog Ben Chandler, a good man) won reelection by a mere 600 votes.  This is one of those hypocritical red states which, year after year, receives more in Federal monies than it pays in taxes.  Need I say more?  Progressives are alive and well in Kentucky, but their presence is limited, for the most part, to the local level.

    3) Beshear's record on social programs may be something of a mixed bag, but he has been hampered by a Republican-controlled state Senate in many ways.   Given point #2 above, it really is a "take what we can get - the alternative is far worse" situation in many ways, and we are doing better than most of our neighboring states.

    4) To those who criticize the "jobs impact" as minimal in both number and quality, I say this: with a population of 3200, Williamsown is the largest city in a county with 12% unemployment.   (Kentucky has 120 counties, of which 104 have an unemployment rate of 10% or higher.)  40% of the county's adult residents are not high school graduates.  When the rate is that high for a community of such small size, it's true that "any jobs help."

    5) Religion plays a major role in Kentucky life and politics.  I can visit at least four seminaries, including the flagship Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (yes, Al Mohler's shop), without leaving the state; I can visit a Benedictine retreat and the Abbey of Gethsemani, where Thomas Merton lived and wrote for decades.  The state is also home to two of the counties who fought the ACLU (for YEARS) over posting the Ten Commandments in their courtrooms.

    We have seen this sort of thing before; consider that Holy Land Experience, in Orlando FL, enjoys tax-exempt status as a religious organization, NOT a theme park.  (Riiiiiight.)   The now-defunct Christus Gardens, in Gatlinburg TN, enjoyed some tax breaks during its 30-year run.  This is nothing new.  There is ample evidence that tourism is its own engine, and that state benefits are not necessarily a First Amendment issue in such cases.

    One can certainly criticize the business plan/model for Ark Encounter, but let's stay grounded in reality, eh?

    •  I-75 between Cincinnati and Lexington (0+ / 0-)

      is indeed a pretty major highway. If they're using the money on that, it won't be wasted.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Wed May 16, 2012 at 09:43:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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