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Tight timeline for possible Canalside carousel called 'unreasonable'

A historic carousel, like this one located at the Herschell Carousel Factory Museum in North Tonawanda, could be coming to the Buffalo waterfront.

A century-old wooden carousel carved by artisans in North Tonawanda could make its way to the downtown waterfront.

The Margaret L. Wendt Foundation is offering to pay a quarter-million dollars so a local group can buy it. But there is a string attached: the carousel must be given a home at Canalside.

What's more, a decision must be made by July 1. That's the date a deposit is due to prevent it from possibly being bought by a private collector.

Robert Gioia, who heads the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation, tells WBFO a vintage Herschell carousel would fit in with the mission of telling the region's history in a compelling way. He says it would be an ideal addition to the burgeoning waterfront, but adds the tight timeline for making a decision is troubling.

"To say exactly where it will go on a 20-acre site within a couple of weeks is, quite frankly, unreasonable. It would be irresponsible on our part, given many of the other negotiations that have been ongoing," Gioia said.

The carousel has been owned by one family for almost a century and has been in storage for 61 years.

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Jay joined Buffalo Toronto Public Media in 2008 and has been local host for NPR's "Morning Edition" ever since. In June, 2022, he was named one of the co-hosts of WBFO's "Buffalo, What's Next."

A graduate of St. Mary's of the Lake School, St. Francis High School and Buffalo State College, Jay has worked most of his professional career in Buffalo. Outside of public media, he continues in longstanding roles as the public address announcer for the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League and as play-by-play voice of Canisius College basketball.