FRANKFORT — A state tourism board gave preliminary approval Monday for a religious theme park to apply for up to $37 million in state tax incentives.
The Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority also gave final approval Monday for the Kentucky Speedway to collect up to $20.5 million in sales tax breaks over 10 years. The deal will allow the Northern Kentucky race track to recoup up to 25 percent of the $82 million it is spending on an expansion that will allow it to host a NASCAR Sprint Cup race.
The Kentucky Speedway is slated to hold its first NASCAR Sprint Cup race in July.
The six-member board voted unanimously to approve the incentives for the Kentucky Speedway in Gallatin County and to give preliminary approval to the Ark Encounter park in Grant County.
The centerpiece of the Ark Encounter park will be a 500- by-75-foot wooden ark, billed as a replica of the biblical Noah's Ark. The proposed project has garnered national and international attention, with critics questioning whether granting state tax incentives to the project would violate laws separating church and state.
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