Some of the first pieces of timber to the Key Bank Roundhouse which will house an historic carousel at Canalside were added today. The building will sit on the central wharf area of Canalside, and is being funded by a $5.3 million dollar public-private partnership.
Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul spoke at the construction site, and said the carousel will be a much welcomed addition to waterfront attractions.
“That 100 year journey that it took for the carousel to go from Tonawanda, and in hibernation for nearly 60 years in Massachusetts, to finally have a homecoming,” said Hochul. "Before that beautiful carousel can come home, it needs a home to come to.”
The carousel was built at the Herschell-Spillman factory in North Tonawanda back in 1924. The land it’ll sit on was transferred from the city to the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation for a symbolic one dollar.
New York State Assemblymember Sean Ryan said the carousel will bring another layer to the inclusive nature of Buffalo’s waterfront, as it continues to push to being a welcoming site for people of all ages.
“It’s going to be a great fit this carousel, for everything we have going on down here,” Ryan said. “We have Explore and More [Children’s Museum], we have the naval park, the boardwalk, so a lot going on.”
The project was initially announced in October of last year, but due to COVID-19 restrictions, construction was somewhat delayed. Leaders estimate the carousel opening to the public in summer of 2021. The fee to ride is being set at just one dollar to attract as many people as possible.
Before the ride can open however, restoration of the long-out of service merry go-round needs to be finished. The non-profit Buffalo Heritage Carousel has been hard at work restoring it by hand, largely thanks to assistance from local artists and other volunteers.