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Vintage carousel on track for Canalside opening next summer

Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation

A major new attraction is on track to make its debut at Buffalo's Canalside next summer.The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation, on Monday, approved the aquisition of land right along Canalside's Central Wharf for a vintage carousel. The carousel will be housed in a building near the corner of Prime and Perry streets.

The board committed $1.2 million for the construction of a building to house the park-style carousel. The carousel, which was manufactured in 1924, was in operation until the 1950s. It was purchased for $250,000 through a state grant. Another $1.3 million was secured for its restoration, building construction and capital expenses.

Laurie Hauer-LaDuca, the president of Buffalo Heritage Carousel Inc., says restoration work is continuing and the project should begin construction late this fall. Hauer-LaDuca says the building's design is typical of the "golden age of the carousel."

"I think it's fitting for the Canalside area to have a reflection of the past. It would be a typical structure of what that carousel would have been in 1924," she said.

The carousel frame is being restored in Ohio and local artists have completed work on 30 of the carousel's 34 animals. Among the creatures that are part of the menagerie are a lion, tiger, giraffe, ostrich, deer, mule and sea dragon.

Credit Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation
A map showing the location where the new carousel will be located.

The building will also have modern features, including built-in solar panels to power the carousel. 

ECHDC Chairman Robert Gioia said the carousel is consistent with other models across the globe and will  further enhance Canalside's reputation as a family-friendly destination.

"Anywhere you travel in the world [where] you see carousels, you see families, you see children. It's the type of environment and family-oriented exercises that we want to continue to pursue at Canalside," Gioia said.

To make way for the project, the Harbor Corporation also approved relocating the children's beach at Canalside just a little further south along the Central Wharf.

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