Tight timeline for possible Canalside carousel called 'unreasonable'

Jun 19, 2015

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.