The solar powered carousel project at Canalside just got a huge boost. New York State will be investing $1.2 million matching grant fund to help ensure that the carousel has a fitting home. The funds are to be allocated to building the structure that will house the Carousel at Canalside.
After tracking down the actual carousel (originally manufactured in WNY), Buffalo Heritage Carousel set out to identify funds to house the historic ride (see history of project). Renewable energy activist and forerunner on the initiative, Joan Bozer, was joined by a number of advocates, including Laurie Hauer-LaDuca, who is now president of Buffalo Heritage Carousel.
From the beginning, Canalside was chosen as the perfect location for the solar powered carousel. While chasing down the actual carousel proved to be difficult at first, ultimately it was housing the structure that became the lynchpin for the project. Now this final obstacle is being overcome thanks to a number of people who understand the playful and historic vision for the waterfront. Often times, cities are defined by these types of advancements – think towering ferris wheels and spectacular works of art. This carousel will have both, as well as a historic element that ties it to Buffalo.
The carousel will also be powered by alternative energy, which serves to teach future generations the importance of clean, alternative energy. Buffalo’s history of tapping natural renewable resources first came about with Niagara Falls. Now the carousel will be a beacon for solar power in a city that was once proudly touted as The City of Light.
The vintage menagerie, park-style carousel was manufactured in 1924 by Spillman Engineering in North Tonawanda.
“Buffalo’s thriving waterfront is a driving force behind Western New York’s resurgence, and the addition of this historic carousel will attract even more visitors and revenue to the region,” Governor Cuomo said. “This new attraction showcases Western New York’s rich history of carousel making as well as the region’s growing leadership in sustainability. With over 1.5 million visitors at Canalside this year alone, the revitalized Buffalo waterfront is bolstering economic growth and helping us build a better, stronger Buffalo for generations to come.”
Buffalo Heritage Carousel acquired the DeAngelis Carousel.
According to Laurie Hauer-LaDuca, the hope is to have the carousel up and operational at a site near Clinton’s Dish (Canalside) as early as 2018. The timeframe of rebuilding the historic carousel and building the housing for the carousel could be parallel if the additional funds are secured in a timely manner. A highly specialized fundraising team is now in place, which should have an easier lift now that matching funds have been allocated to the project.
Once in place, the circa 1924 amusement ride – #10 of an extremely limited number of ‘fancier’ machines ever constructed – will not only represent Buffalo’s history, it will represent the city’s future. Herschell-Spillman companies will be represented at the heart of the city’s waterfront, as will the legacy of Domenick De Angelis, an Italian immigrant who came to the US in his teens. De Angelis quickly realized his dreams of acquiring classic rides of this nature, and spent his life surrounded by these beautiful works of art and merriment.
Apparently the stars were aligned for this to come to fruition, as, after the passing of De Angelis, the family opted to not sell the menagerie carousel piecemeal over the years, although they could have readily done so. Instead, they held out because they wanted to secure the legacy of their father. That story will soon be told in Buffalo.
Once this carousel is up and running, it will serve as a reminder that in this day and age, anything is possible thanks to the hard work and perseverance of those who refuse to let go of a dream. This carousel represents a new day for Buffalo, along with so many other awesome projects that are coming to fruition.
Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation Chairman Robert Gioia said, “With this funding we are headed in the right direction so that within the next two years families will have even more of a reason to visit and stay longer at Canalside, taking a ride on the carousel and spending time at the future Explore & More Children’s Museum.”
Assemblyman Sean Ryan said, “I worked to secure $600,000 in funding for the carousel because Western New Yorkers deserve to have this beloved attraction back at its original home. The carousel at Canalside will be entertaining, sustainable, and will fortify our growing waterfront economically and culturally. With the announcement of this funding, Governor Cuomo brings us one step closer to seeing this dream become a reality. I look forward to the grand opening of this exciting new feature.“
Mayor Byron Brown said, “Once it returns home to Buffalo, the historic Carousel will bring a unique entertainment opportunity to city residents and visitors. This funding guarantees that we will have the Buffalo Heritage Carousel up and running on our waterfront. This attraction will bring thousands of new visitors to downtown Buffalo and Canalside. Earlier this year, I authorized the sale of a city owned parcel at Canalside to Empire State Development to ensure that the historic Carousel would become a major attraction on our waterfront. I’m pleased to see this project move forward and I thank Governor Cuomo for his continued dedication to the fortification of the Buffalo economy.”
Anyone looking to make a donation towards this incredible undertaking may do so by visiting this website.
Learn more about the fight to bring this carousel home to Buffalo.
BHC Project Supporters: Governor Andrew Cuomo, Assemblyman Sean Ryan, M.L Wendt Foundation, Oishei Foundation, Doug Swift, Bonadio Group, Michael & Linda Burke, Anonymous Donor
Lead image: Trimper’s Carousel – very much like the one that is coming to Buffalo