James Bowen’s plan to keep the Carousel of Light spinning in Falmouth received enthusiastic support from the board of selectmen Monday night, August 18.
Mr. Bowen, president of the Carousel of Light organization, presented his plan to move the carousel from its temporary home at Mullen-Hall Elementary School to the northwest side of Shivericks Pond, building a half-mile public walking path around the circumference of the pond. The preliminary design includes a parking lot next to the carousel that would be accessed from Katharine Lee Bates Road.
The idea is contingent on the organization acquiring a parcel adjacent to the pond and gaining town government support, which Mr. Bowen secured at last night’s joint Falmouth Board of Selectmen and Falmouth Planning Board meeting.
“It could be an extension of Main Street and really open up the beauty of the pond,” said selectmen chairman Mary (Pat) Flynn. “It adds another dimension and attraction to town.”
Planning board chairman Patricia H. Kerfoot called the idea “a winner,” stating the current path is severely overgrown and trash-ridden. “It could be an economic driver,” she said.
Mr. Bowen said he plans on a major capital campaign this fall to build a permanent home for the attraction and said he already has a lot of supporters. He also said the carousel has the support of engineering, architectural, legal and construction firms who are willing to provide pro bono services. Mr. Bowen’s plan is to build a structure enclosing the carousel, allowing it to be open longer each year.
Selectman Susan L. Moran praised Mr. Bowen for his efforts in trying to keep the carousel in Falmouth. Currently, Mr. Bowen is talking with officials from Mashpee Commons about moving the carousel there. He said he is doing what he can to keep it in Falmouth, but said finding it a permanent home soon is imperative and he wants a solid plan by spring.
Members of both boards discussed ideas for the project, including adding environmental informational stations along the path, benches, lighting, boardwalk and a fishing dock. The stretch between Hamlin Avenue and the Lawrence School property runs through private property. Mr. Bowen said he would like to see a boardwalk over the pond linking the path, or walkers could skirt around to Dillingham Avenue and reconnect to the walkway. The “gateway” would be via Post Office Road, where Mr. Bowen envisions banners and signage directing people to the pond and carousel.
The board agreed to utilize town resources for the project, including DPW for construction of the walkway and any road changes. Selectman Samuel L. Patterson said the new parking spaces should be open to the public, contributing to the project’s public/private partnership.
The project would need conservation commission approval and Ms. Flynn said the school committee needs to be involved as much of the surrounding land is contiguous to school property.
Mr. Bowen said the carousel has attracted over 12,000 riders since it opened in July and is donating money generated from the attraction to the Falmouth School Committee and The Falmouth Fund.
Longtime Falmouth resident and artist Lance Shinkle created the carousel more than 20 years ago, but it was moved in and out of storage until a group of community leaders accepted Mr. Shinkle’s offer to donate the carousel to Carousel of Light Inc. The carousel consists of 20 horses, two wheelchair-accessible chariots, three sculptures and 12 colorful decorative panels.