Cafesjian’s Carousel (location, location, location)

In the real-estate business, location is the three most important selling points of a property. It’s called "curb appeal." The headline of the Midway Como Monitor says it best: Cafesjian’s Carousel Gallops to Como Park. It appears that the Cafesjian’s Carousel’s new home, in a $900,000 "pavilion-like" building that is modeled to blend with the existing surroundings at Como Park, will be located at the right spot for maximum ridership and convenience of metropolitan families. The Monitor continued its report and stated that "If all goes as planned, the carousel could be up and running at its new location by August 1." The ride would not be open year around. Riders could hop on the horses daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Additionally, weekend rides would be April 15-May 31 and Sept. 6-Oct. 31. The ride will be closed Mondays. Each ride will cost $1.50.

But before the gallop could take place, somehow and from somewhere $100,000 was needed so that St. Paul’s Proposal to the Our Fair Carousel Board could remain viable.

Commissioner Rettman saw the opportunity to combine a 1914 Carousel, that had been without a home since 1990, into the setting of Como Park. Janice charged forward to make sure that the shortfall would not eliminate Como Park from the selection process. At the January 20 Board meeting, Janice proposed the County contribute $100,000 to the City of Saint Paul to be used toward the construction of a permanent building to house the Cafesjian’s Carousel. "Como is perfect," Janice said. "Over 2.3 million people visit the park each year. It is a free park and I think that as part of the contribution, we should stipulate that one day a month Ramsey County kids and Citizens get a free ride. I know Como Park and the residents are already looking forward to the summer sounds of the carousel. It’s an automatic. I even expect that the Carousel will once again start making money."

Because withdrawing $100,000 from the Capital Improvement and Equipment contingency account would be breaking away from present policy, some of the Commissioners were reticent to make the contribution. Commissioner Guerin suggested that perhaps the County could make the contribution as a no interest loan. After additional discussion, the Carousel at Como was assured. All one could hear in the Chamber was that "there are 68 horses to ride and can I name one?" Commissioners, yes you can. Kids have been naming them for years.

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