SARANAC LAKE - A volunteer effort to bring an Adirondack-themed carousel to downtown Saranac Lake is seeking additional input from the community as it nears a major milestone.
"Our goal is to break ground this year," said Marge Glowa, chair of the Adirondack Carousel board of trustees.
Public meetings will be held June 8 and 15, 7 p.m. at the Saranac Lake Library to discuss the status of the Adirondack Carousel project and the support the project needs to become a reality.
The brainchild of local woodcarver Karen Loffler, the carousel is planned to be housed in an enclosed, timber-frame, decagonal pavilion with space for community programs and educational workshops.
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 figures depicting wildlife 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.
Last year, it was estimated the project would cost upwards of $1.2 million to build. According to Glowa, however, volunteers have worked aggressively to reduce the overall cost to less than $1 million.
The organization has already raised more than $400,000 for the project, which, combined with local in-kind donations and state grants, has put the project nearly within reach.
"We still need some in-kind donations and volunteers to make it happen," said Glowa, "but a lot of good stuff has been happening."
One particular need she mentioned was for a trailer to store construction materials at the site. A crane and operator are also needed during construction.
"A lot of the interior construction will be done by volunteers," she said.
If all goes well, construction on the building could begin by mid-August with hopes of having the structure enclosed by winter. If that's accomplished, Glowa said, the carousel could be open as early as Memorial Day 2011.
For more information about the carousel or the community meetings June 8 and 15, contact Glowa at 891-3274.