BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - Carousels are a part of Western New York's history and now they are a part of the plan for Canalside's future.
State Assemblyman Sean Ryan announced $600,000 in state capital funding to restore a classic carousel built in Western New York with the hopes of bringing it to Canalside. "It's the perfect fit," said Ryan. "It's year round and it will compliment the Explore & More Children's Museum."
Two-hundred, fifty-thousand dollars has already been raised to purchase the Spillman Engineering Carousel, which was built in 1924 by the Herschell line of companies in North Tonawanda. "Buffalo has much to gain by having this beautiful gleaming musical simple pleasure in downtown Buffalo at Canalside," said Laurie Hauer-Laduca, President of Buffalo Heritage Carousel Inc.
The carousel has been in storage for more than 60 years, most recently in Ohio. When it's restored it will look similar to a carousel currently on display at the Herschell Carousel Factory Museum in North Tonawanda, just blocks away from where it was produced decades ago.
"It is very special," said Rae Proefrock from the museum. "It's one of only 10 or 12 large park size machines made by the Herschell companies. It's a menagerie carousel, which means it has different animals on it. Lions and tigers."
Restoration is expected to take eighteen months. The next step is finding an official home for the carousel. An 8,000-square foot structure will be needed to house the attraction at an estimated cost $3 million.
"We hope to have it funded with a public-private partnership,: said Ryan.
In a statement the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation said the following on Tuesday:
"Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation applauds the effort of Assemblyman Sean Ryan to secure $600,000 in state funding to restore the historic carousel built decades ago in North Tonawanda. However, it is important to note that no decision has yet been made about its placement. As we have stated previously, ECHDC would like to see the carousel located on the Buffalo waterfront and will continue to meet with Buffalo Heritage Carousel Inc. to determine if it can be accommodated at Canalside."
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