While eating lunch the other day at Ellie’s, I was approached and asked…what’s the deal with the carousel? I thought I would “put down on paper” and share exactly that…What’s the Deal!
Hopefully, this will provide some valuable information so readers can have a better understanding of the potential project.
Foremost, the Carousel Project has been on indefinite hold the past seven months due to Hurricane Harvey, as several board members of the Friends of Downtown Friendswood Association (FDFA), like many in our community, were flooded in that catastrophic storm. It is the desire of FDFA to be respectful to the community that is still rebuilding from Harvey.
Just prior to Harvey, FDFA presented this idea in a public meeting with City Council. This was to be the beginning of a series of public community meetings planned for the fall. These were subsequently canceled when Harvey hit. The purpose of those meetings was to gather significant community input on the Carousel Project. If there was sufficient support, then FDFA would move forward in developing a working agreement with the City to lease park land for the project. To date, there is no commitment from the City of Friendswood on this project.
Fundraising is the most important aspect of this entire project, without private donations, and unless our financial goals are met, this project doesn't happen!
This is a projected $2.5 million privately funded gift to the City of Friendswood. It will be run by a non-profit organization in which all operating expenses, liability insurance, maintenance, etc. will be funded by the non-profit, with net proceeds going back into Stevenson Park and downtown projects. This is not the first project of this type in our community, there have been many Public-Private partnerships over the years in Friendswood…Renwick Park and Rotary Pavilion being the best examples.
The purpose of the Carousel is to create a unique park amenity for families to spend their leisure time for generations to come. It will be an elegant, beautiful, custom hand-carved “moving work of art” telling Friendswood’s story in a very special way. Due to the amount of detail and labor that goes into a project of this size, the carousel itself will take two years to build. I encourage you to visit the FDFA website to view the manufacturer’s video and see the quality of the work with your own eyes. (Link below)
This conceptual project has many miles to go and many hurdles to overcome before it becomes a reality…at least another three years before a child hands over that gold token and hops up on a beautiful carousel horse!
If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact me and/or attend Part Three of the “Our Downtown is Your Downtown” Lecture Series on April 17th, where I will be happy to answer any questions about the project.
Like many supporters of this project, as a life-time resident with a deep love and gratitude for this wonderful city, we would not want to move forward on anything that does not benefit the community nor have the support of the majority. I very respectfully ask folks to please apprise yourself of the facts before coming to any conclusions regarding the potential carousel project.