I mentioned yesterday how the Ark Park attendance is falling short of the exaggerated promises Ken Ham made for it. Dan Phelps provides more details, and also presents Ken Ham’s excuse: it’s because they’re counting all the people, like children under 5, that they let in for free.
Therefore, Mr. Ham is claiming that almost 14% of people visiting the Ark are getting in for free. He is also saying that more people visited in the second year. Although possible, Ham’s apologetics for Ark attendance does not sound convincing. In any case, the Ark is not getting even half of the 2 million projected by Ham in the past. This was especially hurtful to the City of Williamstown, which bent over backwards (and apparently forwards) to the Ark with property tax breaks and selling the Ark nearly 100 acres of land for $2 (not to mention Grant County Development giving the Ark nearly $200,000 cash for locating there). Williamstown and Grant County were sold a bill of goods by AiG when they claimed that the Ark would be the panacea for the City and County’s financial woes.
So even if we accept his explanation (I’m willing), he has still fallen far short of the 2 million predicted visitors, and also, it’s a bit of a bait-and-switch. They begged for tax subsidies and community cash on the basis of bringing in all this tourist revenue with millions of paying visitors who would then contribute to the local economy. You don’t get to pad your numbers with all the people with no money that you’re letting attend for free.
Phelps is also not optimistic that the Ark will sink soon. I agree. Ham has money flowing in, even if it’s less than promised and it’s all going to his organization, rather than the community. He’s doing fine. He’s also planning to expand, because one lesson for grifting is that when you’ve got a lot of plates spinning in the air, it’s best to toss up another one, rather than letting one fall.