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AP_513330573629.jpg Carolyn Kaster/AP

Pope Francis rides in the popemobile along Independence Mall in 2015.

January 11, 2017

Independence Mall to host $60M attraction celebrating impact of Bible on American life

A non-denominational religious organization announced plans Wednesday to construct a $60 million attraction on Independence Mall in Philadelphia to highlight how the Bible helped mold the American way of life.

The American Bible Society, which is currently based in Philly, said the Faith & Liberty Discovery Center will attract approximately 250,000 visitors annually. The 40,000-square-foot exhibit, which is expected to open in fall 2018, will be located on the first floor of the Wells Fargo Building on 5th and Market Streets.

Mayor Jim Kenney joined American Bible Society officials during the announcement to welcome the "tremendous addition" to the city.

“In the city where William Penn chartered religious freedom, I am excited that the Faith & Liberty Discovery Center will help tell an overlooked story of our history," Kenney said.

American Bible Society President and CEO Roy Peterson noted that history includes the impact the Bible had on the founding fathers as they crafted the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

"Ultimately, the Faith & Liberty Discovery Center will spark a curiosity: How did the Bible influence the people who shaped our nation? And what difference can this book make in our lives today?” Peterson said.

The center will feature interactive experiences that promise to show visitors how the Bible's messages of justice and liberty inspired Americans throughout the country's history.

Local Projects, a company that designed software for the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, has been selected to work on this project.

Philly-based JacobsWyper Architects' SaylorGregg Studio will lead the architectural design.

Construction is expected to create 540 temporary jobs and drive $110 million in economic impact, according to Econsult Solutions.

The American Bible Society was founded in 1816 and is committed to making the Bible available worldwide.

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