Berkshire Carousel Looking To Build Home In Lanesborough
Architect Stephen Barry shows Town Administrator Paul Sieloff exactly where the carousel would be located on the Laston Field property.
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Berkshire Carousel is looking construct a new home after lease negotiations with the Berkshire Mall appear to have ended.
"It's disappointing. The mall has been great to us," carousel Executive Director Maria Caccaviello said Monday after the group asked the town to support a grant application to construct a building at Laston Park. "The mall has been very generous to us but we really can't afford it."
The carousel is now hoping to reel in a grant from the state Cultural Council of up to $500,000 to build on land owned by D. Condron Construction.
The grant requires a match and the Board of Selectmen agreed to put the question of matching up to $500,000 to the voters at town meeting, giving their support for the application.
If the concept come to fruition, the town would own the building housing the carousel and Condron would manage concessions and a gift shop for both the carousel and sporting events.
The building would be positioned on a portion of land on the north side that separates the sports fields from Route 7 — the area best known as the entrance to the drive-in movie theater.
According to attorney Mark Siegars, who volunteered to help find a location, multiple properties along Route 7 were examined and Condron's land proved to be the best location. Siegars has been looking at Lanesborough properties for about a week now.
"We wanted to get this idea out on the table. We recognize that everyone has an interest in keeping the carousel in Lanesborough," Siegars said. "It would be a private-public partnership."
There are still a lot of unanswered questions about the location, Siegars said. But, the group already has a jump start on the design phase because architect Stephen Barry has designed buildings for other locations the carousel has considered. Mark Condron attended Monday's meeting to show his support for the proposal.
"It's a spectacular project," Barry said. "I would love to see this through."
The Berkshire Carousel has struggled to find a home in the seven years since it first eyed South Church Street in Pittsfield, and later Pittsfield Common. The mall donated a storefront while the horses and carousel pieces were being carved and carousel officials had planned to stay.
But with the failure to reach a lease agreement, the group is back at square one. But time is running short: The final horse is nearly completed and the carousel is on its way so the nonprofit needs to find permanent home quickly.
"Up until now we thought we'd be up at the mall," Caccaviello said, adding that the decision to look at other locations is strictly business.
"They just can't afford to be in the mall. They can't generate enough revenue for the lease," Siegars said.