Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation Meets and Approves Next Steps for Carousel Project at Canalside

September 9, 2019

Property acquired, and local company hired to reconfigure site to accommodate new carousel building, moving much-anticipated project forward

Project builds on Governor Cuomo’s vision for an exciting, redeveloped waterfront

See location and renderings of carousel building here

The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) Board of Directors met today and approved several items related to the Buffalo Heritage Carousel project at Canalside.  The first approval was for the acquisition of an 8,565 square foot parcel along the Central Wharf at Canalside from the City of Buffalo to facilitate the construction of the Buffalo Heritage Carousel Project.  The project will consist of constructing a building near the corner of Prime and Perry streets to house the nearly century-old De Angelis Carousel. ECHDC will acquire the property from the City for one dollar.

“The carousel will be a colorful new attraction that will help history come to life at Canalside,” said ECHDC Chairman Robert Gioia. “This project is part of Governor Cuomo’s overall vision for activating Buffalo’s waterfront and will complement the recently opened Explore & More Children’s Museum.”

The vintage menagerie, park-style carousel was manufactured in 1924 by Spillman Engineering in North Tonawanda for Dominick De Angelis. The carousel was in operation until the 1950s at which point it was stored by the De Angelis family until Buffalo Heritage Carousel acquired it with a goal of providing family-oriented recreation on Buffalo’s waterfront and to celebrate Western New York’s industrial heritage.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo issued a $1,200,000 matching grant to begin the project and today the ECHDC board officially committed that funding toward the building construction and authorized ECHDC to enter into a land development agreement and lease with Buffalo Heritage Carousel, Inc. KeyBank, along with the First Niagara Foundation, matched Governor Cuomo’s $1,200,000 grant. The Margaret L. Wendt Foundation provided a grant of $250,000 to purchase the carousel, Assemblyman Sean Ryan secured a grant of $600,000 for the carousel restoration, Senator Chris Jacobs secured a grant for $500,000 for the building and the Buffalo and Erie County Greenway Commission awarded $200,000 for capital expenses. The Russell J. Salvatore Foundation, Wegmans and West Herr have also been recent donors to the Carousel project.

Buffalo Heritage Carousel volunteers continue to work on the meticulous restoration of the carousel pieces while raising funds to build, operate, and maintain the carousel. The carousel is predicted to open in the summer of 2020.

Laurie Hauer-LaDuca, President of Buffalo Heritage Carousel, Inc., said, "We are working to finalize building plans so that this historic park carousel can make its debut in the summer of 2020 after being hidden away for 60 years.  This rare and historic carousel will be powered by the sun, offering families an opportunity to enjoy this simple pleasure filled with lights and music serving as the latest family recreational and educational attraction at Canalside as well as bolstering Buffalo Heritage Tourism.”

"We have an extremely generous community, but sometimes the last dollars are the most difficult dollars to raise and we still have a challenge ahead of us. Today we are launching our Race to the Finish Line Campaign with the goal of raising $1,200,000,” said Corky Burger, Buffalo Heritage Carousel, Inc. Capital Campaign Director

Carousel sponsorships are available including the Wurlitzer Band Organ, Adopt-A Horse/Animals. For sponsorships contact [email protected] or donations can be made at buffaloheritagecarousel.org.

Associated with the carousel project, the Board today also approved a contract to Scott Lawn Yard, Inc to shift the children’s beach, located at the southern end of the wharf, further south to accommodate the new carousel building. The new beach will be approximately the same size but will have improved access from the wharf and an adjacent parking lot. The re-designed beach will be surrounded by boulders and landscaping.  The New York State Power Authority Industrial Incentive is providing funding for the beach relocation.

About Buffalo Heritage Carousel, Inc.

Buffalo Heritage Carousel, Inc. was formed as a 501c3 non-profit organization to purchase, restore a vintage menagerie, park-style carousel which was manufactured in 1924 by Spillman Engineering in North Tonawanda and to house the carousel in a building at our revitalized urban waterfront at canalside. The carousel will be solar-powered. The mission of Buffalo Heritage Carousel, Inc. is to provide entertainment, education and to celebrate the history of carousel manufacturing in Western New York.

About Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation 

The ECHDC is governed by a nine-member board consisting of seven voting directors and two non-voting, ex-officio directors. The seven voting directors are recommended by the New York State Governor and are appointed by the New York State Urban Development Corporation d/b/a Empire State Development as sole shareholder of ECHDC. The two nonvoting, ex-officio director positions are held by the Erie County Executive and the City of Buffalo Mayor.

As a subsidiary of Empire State Development, the state’s chief economic development agency, the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation supports and promotes the creation of infrastructure and public activities at Canalside, the Ohio Street corridor and the Outer Harbor that is attracting critical mass, private investment and enhance the enjoyment of the waterfront for residents and tourists in Western New York. Its vision is to revitalize Western New York’s waterfront and restore economic growth to Buffalo based on the region’s legacy of pride, urban significance and natural beauty. For more information on ECHDC, visit https://esd.ny.gov/erie-canal-harbor-development-corporation-0.

Contact:
Pamm Lent (Governor’s Office) | [email protected] | (716) 846-8309
Laura Magee (ECHDC) | [email protected] | (716) 846-8239