Berkshire Carousel Project Handicapped Again

By Dan GigliottiiBerkshires Correspondent
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Berkshire Carousel's opening may be delayed because of handicapped accessibility issues.

DALTON, Mass. — The opening of the Berkshire Carousel is handicapped again, this time because of accessibility issues.

The date of the grand opening of the attraction — about eight years in the making — was initially projected as June 21 by the group's leadership earlier this year. However, representatives of the non-profit organization said they believe the project's start date will be delayed to install a pair of handicapped accessible bathrooms.

Director Maria Caccaviello told the Select Board on Monday night that the Berkshire Carousel will be ready for the public sometime later in the summer, with no certainty as to exactly when.

"There might be a slight delay, because we're putting in handicap bathrooms. But we really don't know how far along in the process that is. We're working forward to make that happen," Caccaviello said.

The Berkshire Carousel has moved multiple times to different towns in Berkshire Count during its construction period, in search of a permanent residence. Though group and town leaders expect the project to be permanently located in Dalton, no formal agreement has been reported.

The carousel is currently housed in a former Crane & Co. stationary factory at 63 Flansburgh Ave., with tentative plans for a $1.6 million facility to be constructed on the property as an amusement and multi-purpose facility. The project was being slated for a grand opening in June with the amusement ride under a tent outside the former Flansburgh factory.

What once was a hard-and-fast date is now a relative uncertainty, given knowledge of the accessibility issues learned late last week.

"Our goal was to do something this summer, but we're just not sure what date, until we get the full plans for the bathrooms under way and we just got that information," Caccaviello said.

She said the carousel will "definitely" be ready for its unveiling this summer; and if only for a short time, it will be displayed for the public.

"I'd like to be open at least 30 days, sometime, because I'd like to put it out for people to see what it's going to look like, but until I see a timeline, I don't know," Caccaviello said.

Caccaviello said the operating mechanism for the carousel will be delivered on March 7, delayed from its reported date of sometime in January because of weather issues among others. All of the horses set to be mounted on the carousel are complete. Additional work is being done to ready the chariot features.

The Select Board, functioning as the town's Licensing Board, approved a petition on Monday granting an entertainment license for the Carousel to open from June 21 to Oct. 20. Operating hours are scheduled daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., except for Sundays, when it opens from 1 to 5 p.m. The board also reserved the right for Town Manager Kenneth Walto to grant additional operating hours when necessary for yet unforeseen special events.

Select Board members also provided positive commentary supporting the approval of a special permit by the town's Zoning Board of Appeals for the erection of a tent in the parking lot of the stationary factory. If the ZBA receives comments from all necessary boards by March 4, the topic will be discussed at its April 1 meeting.

Tags: berkshire carousel,   handicapped accessibility,   

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