Ark Encounter Agrees to Pay Williamstown Safety Assessment Fee

Jul 27, 2017

Since July 1, visitors to the Ark Encounter biblical theme park in Grant County have been paying an extra 50 cents per ticket.

The “safety assessment fee” is for increased police and fire services.  

Despite attempts to reduce it, officials with the Noah’s Ark park this week agreed to continue collecting the fee for the City of Williamstown.

While negotiating to have the fee reduced, the for-profit that owned the Ark transferred its property to a non-profit affiliate. That caused the city to fear that Ark officials were trying to get out of paying all taxes. 

Following notice by the state’s tourism agency that it was canceling a tax rebate worth as much as $18 million, the property was transferred back to the non-profit.

Williamstown Mayor Rick Skinner is glad a settlement has been reached but is disappointed by recent events.

“We’ve lost a little trust in the Ark and that will take time to heal. But I’m glad we’ve reached an agreement with the safety assessment fee.”

Following this week's transfer of the property back to the for-profit, the state's tourism cabinet declined to comment on the status of the tax incentive.