Bible Park Rejected

This may be an old story already posted but here is an update.

Bible Park at Blackman – Few, if any issues, have created more community debate and controversy than a Bible-based theme park proposed in the Blackman community.

More than a year after Armon BarTar presented a plan to build a $175 million-200 million, 282-acre biblically themed park in the Blackman community and create potentially hundreds of jobs, the County Commission voted May 16 to reject a zoning change to allow the project to go forward.

“We’ve told the developer since the beginning that we had concerns it didn’t fit with the Blackman Land Use Plan,” Planning Commissioner Doug Demosi told the commission. However, Demosi also said the developer had done everything possible to mitigate public concern with the park and its impact on the largely residential Blackman Community.

The proposal produced a huge grassroots effort in the Blackman community to thwart the park with opponents outmaneuvering park proponents by utilizing a seldom used zoning rule requiring two-thirds commissioner approval if 20 percent of adjoining landowners objected and filed petitions.

Even though the rezoning request drew a majority 12-9 vote, it failed to meet the two-thirds requirement.

The vote came after a contentious, at times uncivil, six-hour debate with dozens of private, business and religious leaders speaking.

The Shelton family, which owns the 240 acres optioned by SafeHarbor, LLC for the development of Bible Park USA, filed suit against Rutherford County in June challenging the county’s denial of the park’s rezoning request.

In the lawsuit, the Sheltons claimed petitions filed in opposition to the park by surrounding landowners were invalid and that County Attorney Jim Cope overstepped the bounds of his job by ruling the petitions valid.

Chancellor Robert Corlew agreed and sent the decision back to the Rutherford County commission to decide whether a supermajority vote was required.

The county is appealing the ruling.

The Bible Park developers secured a tentative agreement for a site in Wilson County near state Route 840, but officials there failed to approve a funding plan, leaving the park in limbo at year’s end.

This story doesn’t give enough details. Why don’t the people want the theme park? Is it because they are in a peaceful community and don’t want the traffic/noise? If that’s the reason, chances are there is a zoning issue, and it will fall through. Is it because of it’s religious theme? Somehow I doubt it- people usually don’t get this much attention by the legal system for trying to build churches or religious bookstores.

Eh, if building a theme park is important to the Shelton family, they can build it somewhere else.

we lived for 12 years in a small rural community, in which the central area was also a historic district, which was home to 2 theme parks on its fringes. If I had any say so in voting on such a development where I live the answer would be NO.

Sounds like a sensible rule to me. The people living in the area ought to have some say about commercial development that affects their neighborhoods.

A Bible theme park sounds kind of blasphemous anyway. What would it consist of anyway – guys dressed like the Jesus & the Twelve Apostles in a Last Supper tableau? An Armageddon Adventure Ride? Special F/X parting of a red pool every hour?

Read the book – or, there are a few decent movies out there.

Ha, never thought I’d see something close to home here on CAF!

I was glad to see the theme park rejected. Besides, it’s already crazy-busy on that side of town.

originally posted by didymus
A Bible theme park sounds kind of blasphemous anyway.

I don’t think so. I was kind of thinking like Veggietales.

There could be a child’s version of the story of Esther, David or Daniel. If I was going to take my children to an amusement part, why not a fun but interesting one in which they could learn something about bible stories.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit