Carthage Kiwanis Club members, assisted by their Carthage High School Key Club counterparts, are working to bring a classic carousel back to life.
They plan to install the ride in Carthage’s historic Kiddieland Park, in Municipal Park, but they need help in the form of donations to make it happen.
Kiwanian Ed Hardesty, who is supervising the restoration of the carousel and its installation at Kiddieland, said the group plans to build an octagonal pole building over the carousel to protect it from the weather and provide security, but they need donations from the community to make it happen.
Hardesty, who also serves as a Carthage City Council member, said the group also needs money to pay to run electricity and upgrade the security cameras around the historic amusement park.
“We’ve set a goal of raising $15,000 for this project,” Hardesty said. “I think we can get it done for less than that, but that gives us money to make sure we can get a good security system. We are so grateful for people who have donated to the park so far. We’re tickled to death to see people excited about the park.”
On Saturday, Jan. 21, Kiwanians and members of the Carthage High School Key Club, a chapter of the Kiwanis Club for high school students, spent several hours painting on the pieces and panels that makeup the 30-foot-diameter carousel.
The group purchased the carousel last year for $12,000 from Paul Sale, Osage Beach. Hardesty said there are no instructions for reassembling the carousel when the time comes, but Sale has volunteered to come to Carthage for a couple of days in the spring to help the Kiwanians put it back together.
D&D Sexton Trucking donated the truck and time to haul the carousel from Osage Beach to Carthage last year.
Hardesty said Reed Construction, Carthage, donated the labor to pour a concrete pad for the carousel last fall. Brian Bisbee, with the Carthage Crisis Center, donated left-over hardwood flooring material, from a flooring project at the Crisis Center, to the club to replace the warped and weathered floor.
Hardesty said the carousel will have 400 light bulbs, which have also been donated, and the group plans a grand opening for the newly renovated Kiddieland for some evening in the spring to take advantage of the lights. Hardesty said the grand opening will celebrate the restoration of the park that took place last year as well as the new carousel.
Kiwanians Ross Riley and Ivan Hager led the club’s 2010-2011 effort to refurbish the train and some of the other rides at the 60-year-old park.
In the summer of 2010, the more-than-60-year-old motor on the train broke down. That and other problems pushed the club to decide to shut the park down early that year and spend about $9,000 on a major overhaul.
Page 2 of 2 - Carthaginian Robert Faskin built a new drive train for the train’s engine and Wes Probert repainted the train’s chassis and cars. Other businesses and individuals donated to the project and the family of Richard Campbell, who died in a vehicle accident in April, asked that memorial donations for Campbell go to the club’s reconstruction effort. Jim and Sue Hess donated $500 to the effort.
“We also want to promote the restored train and other improvements we’ve made at the park,” Hardesty said. “Last year with the (Joplin) tornado, we didn’t feel it was appropriate to have a big celebration at Kiddieland, so we decided to wait until we get the carousel installed.”