A major New York real estate and land developer has proposed plans to build a Bible-based theme park in Tennessee which would depict stories from the ancient text.
Officials from Rutherford County, the fastest growing county in the state, met with SafeHarbor Holding to speak about possible plans for "Bible Park USA" this past Friday.
Since the interested company is not religiously-based, the theme park, which would depict scenes and stories from the Bible, would not include "religious interpretation," explained Marcille Durham, spokeswoman for SafeHarbor, to the Tennessean.
"They see it as an entertainment park," she added.
The amusement park would be much like a "story park" and would include traditional rides that are found in amusement parks.
It would emphasize the history of the Bible, as well as its archaeology, and plans to have a "Williamsburg type-working village" feel to it.
While many locals are enthusiastic about the prospect, especially those who wish to see more biblical influence in the area, others have noted concerns. They see the park as a tax burden, and the park's purpose is to only to make money, not spread Christian value.
"Another potential tax loss for Rutherford County residents will arise … [because] 'Bible Park USA' will most likely target, that is to say, the far roving church groups," explained a Tennessean reader in a comment to the newspaper, "that –contrary to the '...render unto Caesar what is Caesar's' New Testament obligation to pay taxes - will also seek ways to avoid paying all sales/hotel taxes through current Tennessee provisions for non-profit tax exemptions."
The developers plan on using from 100 to 300 acres to build the park, but have not made any concrete plans yet.
SafeHarbor staff is still looking at other locations, but prefers to build in Tennessee if possible. Rutherford County officials are the only group that they have talked to so far.
Another project currently under way by the developer is a Hard Rock Park, having a rock n' roll theme, to be built in Myrtle Beach, S.C. It will include over 40 attractions.