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Carousel for the community

July 9, 2011
By Keith Wells - Guest Commentary , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

It was gratifying to see the editorial in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise June 30, "A merry welcome for Adirondack Carousel." This is clearly an admirable undertaking and a tremendous asset to the community. I think it's important to let the public know exactly what this project brings to the community and to clarify some strange untruths that have been stated publicly by some who oppose this project - in particular, regarding the size of the building.

The pavilion that will house the Carousel and its annex is LESS THAN 3,500 SQUARE FEET, not 5,000 square feet! It will only take up a little more space than the old playground equipment occupied. Last year the Carousel Board of Directors went to great lengths to outline the exact footprint of the project at their well attended celebration event in the park on July 24. That was the ideal opportunity for all people to see for themselves that the Carousel building would not take up any significant additional play space.

But beyond that, here is what this well-thought-out project is all about.

Article Photos

Children and one of the Adirondack Carousel’s wooden riding animals, a red squirrel, take part in the project’s groundbreaking on June 20 in Saranac Lake’s William Morris Park.
(Enterprise file photo — Chris Knight)

The MISSION of the Adirondack Carousel is to build and maintain a handcrafted Carousel featuring 24 wildlife figures and a handicap-accessible chariot to be housed in a year-round pavilion with space for programs and special events.

The VISION is to foster imagination and strengthen our community by providing a responsible means of economic growth for the region through education, the arts and entertainment.

The Adirondack Carousel provides for many opportunities for community growth and development. The Carousel will:

FOSTER EDUCATION by providing a center for children's science and nature workshops and presentations. The Adirondack Carousel is working with the Adirondack Museum, Natural History Museum of the Adirondacks (Wild Center) and the Saranac Lake Central School District in developing children's programs and workshops that use the Carousel as a springboard for education. The Carousel will provide a regional destination for traveling museums and educational exhibitions and create a new space and educational resource for area schools and camps.

STRENGTHEN THE COMMUNITY by building the Carousel with community hands and creating a joyful place for family and friends to gather for events. The Carousel will work within the community to empower its residents towards building an economic future. The proposed master plan, work that was commissioned by the village of Saranac Lake, outlines major thrusts in economic development for the area that include tourism, arts and environmentally driven education as central components. The Adirondack Carousel mission, vision and goals directly complement the village plans as well as provide a central meeting place for organizations and family gatherings. Schrader Builders - Tracey, Randy and Dylan - have donated the site excavation as their community contribution. Tim Moody, a well known and respected local plumber, and Tom Hyde of Hyde Fuel are providing the installation of the plumbing and radiant heating as their contribution to this community effort. And there is a growing list of residents, 50 of whom have already signed up, to help finish the construction of the inside of the building.

PROMOTE THE ARTS by using the handcrafted Carousel as a springboard for arts programs. From its inception, the Adirondack Carousel has provided a showcase for local and national woodcarvers and painters to exhibit their art and has involved the community with design, songwriting and play-writing contests centered around the Carousel theme. The Carousel pavilion, once built, will provide additional space for art exhibitions and related displays. The pavilion will create a landmark for the community, sparking an emergence of an uptown district and a renaissance to the downtown district.

DEVELOP THE ECONOMY by becoming a new and exciting tourist attraction in the Adirondacks. The village of Saranac Lake, with a year-round population of just over 5,000, is within driving distance of another 6 million people, from Boston to New York, Buffalo to Montreal. Situated between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake, visitors frequently are attracted to the unique venues of Lake Placid, host of two Winter Olympics, or the Wild Center in Tupper Lake. Now the Carousel is poised to become a destination icon to draw visitors to Saranac Lake and direct business into the uptown and downtown districts, providing shopping, entertainment, arts and dining opportunities.

PROVIDE ENTERTAINMENT AND HEALTHY ACTIVITIES FOR CHILDREN by installing brand-new park equipment to replace existing old equipment. In 2007 the village of Saranac Lake donated the site of the William Morris playground to the Carousel and has entered into a 20-year operating agreement. To make space for the Carousel pavilion, the existing equipment has been deconstructed, and the already-purchased new equipment will be installed at a new spot in the park. By doing this, the Carousel will provide reclaimed lawn space for picnics, games, family activities and Carousel-sponsored after-school and summer camp activities and programs.

The Carousel, ideally sited in William Morris Park, will complement and become an integral part of our emerging uptown component of Saranac Lake, including Upper Broadway, Bloomingdale Avenue, Depot and Church streets. With the advent of the Adirondack Carousel, the park will once again become a favorite spot for children to play, a center for families to congregate and a destination target for visitors.

Everyone is encouraged to take the opportunity to speak directly with the Carousel team to learn more about the Adirondack Carousel project and to find out, firsthand, why this Adirondack Carousel project is considered by many to be a destination icon for Saranac Lake. If you would like to personally support the Adirondack Carousel, you can do so by purchasing a paver inscribed with your name as a lasting memento of your support. Visit the website at to learn more and to make contact.


Keith Wells is a resident of Saranac Lake and volunteer for the Adirondack Carousel.



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