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Why 103-year-old Virginia carousel will not be moving: 'Enjoy it where it is'

Hand-carved historic horses on Hampton carousel
Historic Hampton carousel
103-year-old carousel threatened by sea level rise
Posted at 3:56 PM, Jun 15, 2023

HAMPTON, Va.— Hampton City Council has decided not to move or relocate the historic carousel downtown.

Many residents voiced their concerns about moving the carousel, which sits next to the Virginia Air & Space Science Center, during Wednesday's city council meeting.

The Downtown Hampton Development Partnership previously asked the city council to move it over flooding concerns, and it wants to make room for a waterfront park.

The carousel has been in Hampton since 1920 when it was delivered to Buckroe Beach by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company.

103-year-old carousel threatened by sea level rise

"I’m here for the carousel. I believe it should stay where it is because all of the kids should get to enjoy it," one child said to the council during the meeting.

"I’m asking city council to take the right path. Keep the carousel where it belongs, where the citizens would like for it to stay. It deserves to be a showcase in downtown Hampton," a resident said during the meeting.

"This historic piece of art needs to remain in downtown Hampton next to the... museum so visitors and kids that come to the museum can enjoy it where it is," another resident said.

More than 10 speakers spoke during public comment in support of keeping the carousel where it is.

Some residents stood up during the council meeting to protest moving the carousel.

Robin McCormick, a spokesperson for the city says it was never the city’s idea to actually move the carousel.

"It all started because the downtown Hampton business group wanted to do something different with that park," McCormick said. "They asked the city to consider moving it. This is not a city-driven initiative. The business group wanted it downtown at Mill Point Park."

Currently, the carousel is closed and in need of repairs that the city says will start this summer.

Hand-carved historic horses on Hampton carousel

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Should Hampton's 103-year-old carousel be relocated? Residents can weigh in

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"We are going to use ARPA funds to make the park more resilient and make improvements to it," Mayor Donnie Tuck said.

The city says its goal is to have the carousel up and running by the beginning of 2024.

It would have cost between $2 million and $3 million to move the carousal to a different location.

Hampton carousel to relocate?

"We’re not going to be premature to make a decision to moving the carousel at this time," Mayor Tuck said.

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