A building proposed to house a carousel on First Avenue at Monteith Riverpark in Albany could look like a glass-sided, big-top circus tent.
“We want the framed building to be recognizable and different and have these tall glass windows to show off the carousel inside,” said Dr. Gary Goby, who along with Gwenn Marchese translated the ideas of the private Historic Carousel & Museum’s building committee into something on paper.
The design will be presented to the city’s Landmarks Advisory Commission when it meets at 6:30 tonight (Wednesday, Feb. 2) at Albany City Hall, 333 Broadalbin St. S.W. Because the carousel property is outside any of the city’s historic districts, the commission does not have to approve the plans.
Landmarks Chair Oscar Hult said the conceptual design presentation is primarily to let the commission know what is being considered.
Goby said the building would contain a main floor and a basement. The 13,000-square-foot main floor would have a museum, gift shop, concession stand, painting and carving area, and space for an arcade or parties.
Underneath would be storage, offices and classrooms.
“We don’t have any cost estimates yet, but we’re exploring that and our funding options,” said board chair Wendy Kirbey. Her group has raised about $1 million for the project, which is estimated to cost up to $5 million.
The carousel board is holding talks with the city about having part of the tent-like structure jut into First Avenue so the building would be visible when looking down First from Ellsworth Street.
One-way traffic would be reduced to one lane, but parking would be preserved on both sides of the street.
Representatives from the carousel plan to attend the Wednesday, Feb. 23, city council meeting to run the idea by the council. The council would have to approve any changes to the street.
“The carousel already serves as an anchor for Albany’s historic downtown commercial district and this will create a visual impact as well,” said Rebecca Bond of the Albany Visitors Association.
The carousel board hopes to have the carousel running in three to four years. So far, nearly 25 pieces for the platform have been carved, with 15 actually finished. Another five or so are painted but must dry for five months before they can be clear coated.
Even though the carousel is not yet operating, about 3,000 people visited in December to see the carved pieces, watch craftsmen create the figures or to visit the gift shop.
“The average number of visitors we get in a month is 2,000,” Kirbey said.
The carving studio at 503 First Ave. W. is free to visitors and is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The museum is open from noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
To arrange a tour or to inquire about making a donation, call 541-791-3340.