Berkshire Carousel gets a stable: The former Ponterril pavilion
DALTON -- The pavilion at the defunct Ponterril YMCA summer camp will once again ring out with the voices of happy children -- just not on the shore of Pontoosuc Lake.
The building -- or at least its frame -- has been donated for use as the permanent home of the Berkshire Carousel, which is awaiting assembly on the grounds of the former Crane stationery factory in Dalton.
"The polygon facility is the same size as what we could have bought," said carousel director Maria Caccaviello. "Ponterril will live on through Berkshire Carousel."
Caccaviello noted only the pavilion's steel frame is being salvaged, with new wood and other materials being used to recreate the structure, which will be enclosed.
Carousel organizers will dismantle the 72-foot diameter structure and rebuild it at the Dalton location, where the amusement ride will be surrounded by the rest of the standalone 6,000-square-foot carousel building.
The board of directors of the Pittsfield Family YMCA recently voted to donate the structure, which has not been used for about a decade.
"We didn't have a future use for [the pavilion], so we decided to give it to someone else to use," said Pittsfield "Y" Executive Director Randy Kinnas.
Six months ago, carousel officials began a $1.6 million capital campaign to erect a year-round facility that will include a gift shop, cafe, education space and workshop for the volunteers. Caccaviello said that budget will be revised, thanks to the YMCA's philanthropic gesture.
"The YMCA's generosity has saved us $200,000 -- this was a gift from heaven," she said.
Organizers already have raised the $1 million for the merry-go-round that will feature 33 hand-carved and painted wooden horses, 14 rounding boards, two chariots and a donkey. They will be mounted on an 85-year-old carousel frame and mechanism that was refurbished in Ohio and delivered to Dalton in March. Volunteer have painted the hundreds of moving parts that will drive the carousel.
Organizers had originally intended to assemble the carousel under a temporary tent-like structure and operate it over this summer, in part, to raise awareness about the capital fundraising effort.
Caccaviello said with the pavilion on its way, the debut of the carousel has been delayed until the pavilion is rebuilt or the entire carousel complex is completed. Organizers will decide later this summer whether to phase in the project or do it all at once -- the latter meaning the carousel likely will begin entertaining thousands of children of all ages in the summer of 2015, according to Caccaviello.
The carousel's proposed permanent home is planned for behind the south loading dock of the former Crane factory on Flansburg Avenue.
Owner of the 100,000 square-foot commercial building, Stephen Sears, has said the old powerhouse would be torn down to make room for the carousel. Sears is currently revitalizing the downtown mill complex that already has several tenants. He sees the carousel as a catalyst to attract more businesses to his project.
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