Paragon Carousel will open for the season this weekend (but it’s still without a lease)
The Paragon Carousel is gearing up to open for the season on Saturday.
Built in 1928, Hull’s beloved merry-go-round is the only ride left over from Paragon Park, the amusement park on Nantasket Beach that closed in 1985.
But the nonprofit group that operates the carousel says its long-term future is in limbo.
“We are without a lease,” said Marie Schleiff, president of the Friends of the Paragon Carousel, the nonprofit that owns the carousel and the building it’s housed in.
The carousel building sits on land owned by the state. The state also owns the adjacent clock tower building, which the nonprofit uses as office space, a restoration studio (where the carousel horses are repaired), and an ice cream stand that produces much-needed revenue for the nonprofit to keep the carousel going.
Schleiff said the previous lease expired in 2016, and the Friends have been waiting on the state Department of Conservation and Recreation to renew it. Schleiff said the Friends plan to apply for a matching grant soon.
“I can’t get that grant if we don’t have a long-term lease,” she said.
Schleiff described the current situation as “disheartening.”
“We do so much good here,” she said.
The carousel was built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company 91 years ago. It features 66 carved horses, two Roman chariots, 35 original paintings, 36 cherubs, 18 goddesses, and Wurlitzer band organ that plays music as it goes round and round, according to the Friends website.
In a statement e-mailed to the Globe, the Department of Conservation and Recreation and Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance are “working with the Friends of Paragon Carousel on an updated long term lease” and that draft lease documents should be ready “within the coming weeks.”
For now, the Friends are looking forward to reopening the carousel to the public this weekend.
“We just try to keep it positive,” she said.
The carousel will open at 11 a.m. Saturday and from 12 to 3 p.m. children can take photos with the Easter Bunny. The creamery will also be open.
The carousel will open again on Sunday at 11 a.m., and the Easter egg dash event will start at 12:30 p.m. sharp, followed by cookie decorating and crafts. Carousel rides cost $3 and the egg dash is free. For more information, visit www.paragoncarousel.com.