Berkshire Carousel opening delayed by restroom mandate
Photo Gallery: Berkshire Carousel
DALTON -- Berkshire Carousel's debut will have to be put on hold while organizers raise additional funds for handicap accessible bathrooms.
The carousel was to begin its operation June 21 through Oct. 15 in a temporary tent-like structure on the grounds of the former Crane stationery factory in Dalton.
But the opening has been postponed indefinitely due to an "unexpected fundraising expense," according to carousel Director Maria Caccaviello. She said $20,000 to $40,000 is needed -- depending on the final cost estimate -- for the installation of handicap-accessible restrooms at the carousel workshop located within the downtown mill complex.
Project leaders had hoped to use portable bathrooms, but it was determined permanent ones were preferred.
"Having handicap toilets means we can hold our various programs for the public inside the building," noted Caccaviello. "If we get the right group of volunteers [to build them], it shouldn't take long -- it's always about the money."
Organizers have said debuting the amusement ride before a permanent structure is built will help raise the $1.6 million needed to erect the year-round facility. Construction of the standalone 6,000-square-foot building should start this summer and hopefully will be ready to house the ride by the end of 2014.
The carousel's proposed permanent home, planned for behind the south loading dock of the former Crane factory, also will include a gift shop and other amenities.
Carousel representatives and Stephen Sears, owner of the Flansburg Avenue facility, are working with Dalton officials regarding permits for the temporary and permanent structures.
Meanwhile, a capital campaign is underway to raise money from throughout Berkshire County and beyond to pay for the permanent carousel home.
Organizers already have raised the $1 million for the amusement ride 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 being refurbished in Ohio and expected to arrive the end of next week.
Caccaviello says volunteers are needed to paint frame, assemble the carousel and learn how to operate it
Sears has said the old powerhouse of the 100,000-square-foot building would be torn down to make room for the carousel -- rent free. He sees the attraction as a catalyst to attract tenants to his downtown revitalization effort of the mill complex.
An artist's rendition of the carousel building -- brick façade to match the mill -- and one of the horses are on display at the Dalton Community Recreation Association on Main Street.
To reach Dick Lindsay:
or (413) 496-6233
Berkshire Carousel has two fundraisers scheduled next month:
What: Painting with the Pony Painters. Learn how to paint from those painting the carousel, eat chocolates and taste wine.
Canvas, brushes, paints and easel provided.
When: March 5, March 26
Where: First Congregational Church, Dalton
Reservations: (413) 499-0457
What: International wine and food tasting
When: March 22
Where: Ventfort Hall, 104, Walker St., Lenox.
Cost: $35 at the door; $30 in advanc at Kelly's Package Store in Dalton.
Reservations: (413) 499-0457.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.