VESTAL, NY (WSKG) — The City of Binghamton is beginning the process of restoring and potentially moving its historic Ross Park carousel, a fixture of the park and zoo for over a century.
“In recent years, as a result of its age, use, and weathering, the carousel has begun to exhibit signs of deterioration and now requires immediate restoration and repair,” the city’s request for qualifications for the project reads.
First gifted to the city by George Johnson in 1919, the Allan Herschell carousel is on the state and federal registers of historic places. According to the Herschell Carousel Factory Museum’s website, there are less than 150 such merry-go-rounds remaining in North America.
According to the city’s request for qualifications, the carousel needs repairs to 59 of its horses, as well as the inner scenic panels and platforms. Additionally, the city wants to assess the feasibility of moving the structure entirely to a portion of Ross Park that’s more accessible and experiences fewer drainage problems.
“We want it to be at Ross Park. It’s historic, but we also got to protect it for the next hundred years or so that it needs to serve the community,” Binghamton Mayor Jared Kraham told WSKG.
Kraham said the city received a $500,000 grant from New York state to help cover the “soft” costs of designing and preparing the project, which in total could cost over $1 million.
“The grant right now is covering these soft costs, these design elements in advance,” Kraham said. “And then this firm will give us the road map and the process to accomplish ultimately what we want, which is a restored carousel in a new location at Ross Park.”
Kraham said he expects the carousel will be open for its regular ridership throughout the summer of 2022, though construction may limit its operation in 2023.