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Will Ark benefits trickle down?

By Bryan Marshall

The economic boom created with a $125 million Noah’s Ark-centered tourist attraction opening in Williamstown could trickle down to surrounding cities.

“I think it’s going to be a big impact for Dry Ridge with all the restaurants and motels we have here,” said Dry Ridge Mayor Clay Crupper. “There will probably be more jobs and everything else. I think there will be more hotels and restaurants.

Everybody likes to be where it’s convenient and close so it’s an asset to be within four miles of the park.”

With an influx of tourists expected to come to Grant County to visit the Ark Encounter, Crupper said it may be the key to turning around the Dry Ridge Outlet Mall.

“We could see some new stores coming in there,” he said. “As many people as it is going to draw, it should definitely bring some new businesses in there, I would think.”

James Livingood, Crittenden mayor, said he sees the development as a “plus all the way around” for the county.

An estimated 900 jobs would be created by the attraction, a boost that Livingood is hopeful that will mean more local residents will stay and work in Grant County instead of going to surrounding counties.

Livingood also said Crittenden is ripe to reap the benefits of what added bonuses the Ark Encounter could bring to the county.

“We have acreage already established and zoned as commercial property that’s ready to go,” he said. “We’ll have people from all over the world and country coming to this location. That can do nothing but spur additional businesses and restaurants, motels and whatever else.”

While Corinth Mayor William Hill thinks the future attraction is great for the county, he said he is not optimistic that it will impact his city economically.

“Other than jobs (at the Ark Encounter), I don’t see how it will impact Corinth whatsoever,” he said. “You’re 10 miles away. I cannot see any businesses coming to Corinth because of that. I can’t see any restaurants coming to Corinth because of that. But, I think it’s wonderful. I think it’s great.”

With no dirt yet to be moved and the anticipated completion date still years away, all city officials can do now is wait.

“You can’t hardly prepare ahead of time not knowing exactly what’s going to happen,” Crupper said. “You just sort of take it one day at a time and be ready to go with the flow with whatever you need to do.”