Proposed carousel gets second wind

SARANAC LAKE - Community members looking to construct a new attraction in Saranac Lake are hoping their efforts will take on new life with their latest grant award. The Adirondack Carousel project, a nonprofit organization aimed at building and maintaining a full-size, handcrafted carousel, was recently awarded a $100,000 grant from the New York State Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

"We are thrilled to have this additional funding," said Ted Glowa, president of the Adirondack Carousel's all-volunteer board.

"It is also very encouraging that the State is continuing to support our efforts to bring a community carousel to the Adirondacks despite the economic downturn," he added. "They clearly view the carousel as a project that will have a positive impact in the Tri-Lakes region."

The brainchild of local woodcarver Karen Loffler, the carousel is seen by many as a way to strengthen the local economy by providing entertainment while encouraging respect for the environment and an appreciation for the Adirondack region.

The carousel is planned to be housed in an enclosed, timber-frame, decagonal pavilion with space for community programs and special events. The Village of Saranac Lake has already allotted a site for the building in the William Morris Play Park, conveniently located near the business district and Adirondack Scenic Railroad train depot on the corner of Bloomingdale Avenue and Depot Street.

Instead of the traditional horses, it will feature 23 unique wooden wildlife figures that are native to the region, all hand-carved by volunteer artists from across the country. Examples include a blue heron, hermit thrush, bobcat, skunk, beaver, red fox, bass, and river otter, many of which are already completed and on display in various art galleries around the North Country.

The Adirondack Carousel project got its first big boost in November 2007 when it was awarded a $240,000 matching grant from the Parks and Recreation Department's Environmental Protection Fund. The funding allowed the organization to hire a director and mount a capital campaign.

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