Local News

Raleigh Carousels Ready For Ride To Restoration

Posted July 15, 2004

— Only 150 wooden carousels carved in America before 1930 are still spinning. Raleigh has two of them, and the carousels are in need of repair.

A Raleigh task force is looking at ways to preserve the city's historic carousels for future fun.

Riding the carousel at Pullen Park is a way to go back in time.

"There's very few old, historic things that you can take your kids to and be a part of," said Steve Rensing, who brought his daughter, Raygan, to ride the carousel.

A task force presented its

plans for restoration

Thursday.

"What we are finding is the environmental conditions -- particularly at Pullen, with high humidity levels, abrasion from the wood chips on the floor -- seem to be contributing to the deterioration of the restoration work that's been done," said Peter Benda, a task force member.

Even on restored horses, paint chips easily and the glue breaks down quickly. Some areas have never been fixed.

The Chavis Park carousel house got a new roof last year, but the task force says both carousel houses should be replaced.

Members say the current houses are too small and need permanent floors and temperature controls.

Unlike the busy Pullen Park carousel, the Chavis carousel has just 1 percent of Pullen's ridership. The committee suggests moving the Chavis carousel to a more central location in the park.

The city has set aside bond money for both parks, but has not decided to spend it yet.

Rensing wants the old carousel to look and ride like new again.

"It's an historic landmark," he said.

The task force will accept public feedback for a week before presenting a plan to city council next month.

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