Boston.com’s Town Correspondent, Jeremy C. Fox, frames the debate regarding the proposed $2.9 million replacement carousel slated for the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway. An interesting take in the article comes from the carousel community where the editor of Carousel News & Trader said:
“the planners hadn’t consulted any carousel experts he’s spoken to and had never seriously considered acquiring an antique machine appropriate to the historic nature of Boston … (he) believes the conservancy imposed the idea of unusual animals such as lobsters and butterflies on children, who he believes prefer the traditional galloping horses. He also said the conservancy’s contention that fiberglass creatures were more durable than wooden ones was ill-informed.”
The article accurately raises the financial and public benefit questions raised by observers, including here on NorthEndWaterfront.com (see Spinning the Greenway Carousel). Since I first blogged about this issue, the price tag has nearly tripled from about $1 million to nearly $3 million now. In the Boston.com article, I am quoted as follows:
Matt Conti, a 17-year North End resident who has written critically of the plan on his blog, NorthEndWaterfront.com, said he doesn’t see why the conservancy needs to spend so much on a new carousel when it currently has a profitable arrangement leasing space to a carousel owner and sharing the revenues. (Under the current contract, the conservancy charges the carousel owner $1,000 per month and receives 25 percent of ticket sales.) “So they’ll do this whole project, and what will be the end benefit? You’ll have a slightly better carousel,” Conti said. “And I think that’s a shame given the other options and what could be done with this money.”
Conti also said he’s heard from neighborhood parents who are frustrated with the ride’s ticket price. They consider $3 too high for frequent use, though many children will ask for a ride each time they pass the carousel — as often as twice a day for some.
The Greenway Conservancy’s response from Executive Director Nancy Brennan, is to stop asking questions, just trust them and it will all be great in the end. In the article, she says, “They should just be patient and wait until this is put in place, and I think they’ll see a world of difference.”
For $2.9 million, it is not much of a challenge to build a great carousel. It appears it will be a tourist-centric, Disneyland experience. For the people that live here, it unfortunately also means there won’t be any restrooms, outside theater, playground, tot lot, gardens, dog park, ball field, ramp coverings or anything else that might help neighborhood residents.