It’s been a while since there has been an update on the proposed solar powered carrousel… a what? You heard me – there has been a proposal to build the green tourist attraction for a few years now. One of the people who spearheaded the idea is Gina Beam, Director of the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum – the organization that would donate the rare grasshopper frame needed to complete the ride. The proposal would also give the historic WNY museum an incredible marketing opportunity and a healthy boost through urban exposure. Then the ride animals would need to be carved – each one would be sponsored by an organization or company. Joan Bozer, an alternative energy advocate (and supporter of a Buffalo/Niagara Renewable Energy Demonstration Park), has been talking up the idea for quite some time, and though the project has garnered some support, the going has been slow… that is until now.
This past fall school season I ended up (thanks to Harvey Garrett) speaking to the incoming freshmen honor class at University at Buffalo (see post). As part of the WNY Service Learning Coalition’s colloquium, students are asked to search out projects in the community that are in need of assistance. After speaking to the group, a number of students approached me inquiring as to different ways that they could help the community. One of the groups (I’ll be talking about a couple more in the near future) was interested in promoting alternative energy – they were looking for something green.
An interesting idea that immediately came to mind was the solar carousel. Weeks earlier I had spoken to Joan about the project and it looked like there was no real momentum building. Could the UB students be the catalyst that the initiative was looking for? After the talk, I hooked up the green student group with solar carrousel advocates and an immediate bond ensued. From Joan:
“The Service Learning students turned this into an internship and made a presentation to the fellow students the other night. Next, they are going to be presenting the project to the County Legislature. This an economic development project for the creation of green jobs and will help to position Buffalo as a climate where green businesses and ideas are welcome. A solar carrousel would change the perception of Buffalo as a forward looking community. Buffalo should be moving toward a green economy.
“The students are trying to move the project on the front burner. They want waterfront planners to identify waterfront land for this project. This project will run an estimated $3-4 million including the enclosure, but in the grand scheme of the waterfront development that number is not too significant. It is critical that land is committed now and the project is given credense as a legitimate component. Creative and thoughtful (and green) recreation is crucial.
“The group of students is enthusiastic and very helpful – now this is a learning experience for kids and families (with the help of students) and would go a long way in retaining our youth by drawing them to the water and learning about alternative energy (while having fun). Green industry and jobs will help to prevent the brain drain. A project like this would give hope to our young people and would attract other businesses. These types of initiatives are needed now!”
Conceptual model created by Frank
Fantauzzi at the UB School of Architecture & Planning