The horses will ride in La Plata

So. Md. Carousel Group signs lease; still rais­ing funds for con­struc­tion

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By DAR­WIN WEIGEL dweigel@somd­news.com

The South­ern Mary­land Carousel Group fi­nally found a home for the car- ousel it’s work­ing on. Once enough money is raised, the horses will ride in La Plata.

The group signed a 15year lease for $1 per year Jan. 13 with the town to even­tu­ally build the full­sized carousel at Wills Me- mo­rial Park on St. Mary’s Av­enue. Once the group raises the nec­es­sary funds, a build­ing will be con­structed on the 12-acre plot to hold the work­ing carousel as well as a gift shop, mu­seum and work area.

“It’s ex­cit­ing,” said Burkey Boggs, pres­i­dent of the carousel group. “Hope­fully we can get the money to get this fi­nally built.”

“I think it would be an out­stand­ing ad­di­tion to our parks in La Plata, and, re­ally, all of South­ern Mary­land,” Mayor Roy G. Hale said in a tele­phone in­ter­view this week.

He said Wills Me­mo­rial Park is an ideal lo­ca­tion for such a project since it al­ready has re­strooms and play­ground equip­ment.

“I think the whole [town] coun­cil is very pleased we were able to iden­tify a lo­ca­tion and keep the carousel in La Pla- ta,” Hale said.

Boggs and Melvin Wil­liams, vice pres­i­dent of the group, have been work­ing on the project since 2004. The carousel idea was hatched as a project of the South­ern Mary­land Wood Carvers — which Boggs and Wil­liams both be­long to — who have since carved all of the ani- mals and pan­els for the carousel.

Wood carvers from the group spent seven years from 2005 to 2012 carv­ing the 52 an­i­mals, two char­i­ots, round­ing boards — de­pict­ing South­ern Mary- land his­tory — and faces of his- tor­i­cal fig­ures that will make up the carousel. They logged up to 6,000 hours a year work­ing three days a week.

The an­i­mals, mostly horses, were painted by a var­ied group of artists and ar­ti­sans over that time. The me­nagerie in­cludes a rooster, grasshop­per, dol- phin, blue heron, rab­bit, Husky dog, pig, lion, goat, frog and two tigers.

Boggs said the carousel group is look­ing to ul­ti­mately raise $1 mil­lion to con­struct the carou- sel’s steel plat­form and frame- work and put up a build­ing to house it, which will also in­clude a gift shop, mu­seum, space for par­ties and a work­shop for carv- ing classes and demon­stra­tions. He said, de­pend­ing on the fundrais­ing drive, they may have to scale back to just hous­ing the carousel plat­form and plan to add the other spa­ces some­time down the road. also be mailed to The South­ern Mary­land Carousel Group, P.O. Box 2335, La Plata, MD 20646.

“In a way, it’s a big load off my shoul­ders to fi­nally se­cure the land for the carousel,” Boggs said in a tele­phone in­ter­view this week.

“I hope we have a whole lot of peo­ple there to take the first ride,” he said, look­ing to the fu­ture. “I’m def­i­nitely go­ing to ride.”

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF BURKEY BOGGS

From left, Burkey Boggs, pres­i­dent of the South­ern Mary­land Carousel Group, La Plata Mayor Roy G. Hale and town clerk Danielle Man­d­ley sign a 15-year lease agree­ment Jan. 13 for the place­ment of the carousel at Wills Me­mo­rial Park.

STAFF PHO­TOS BY DAR­WIN WEIGEL

Above left, this horse, called An­tique Horse, was carved by Daniel Mueller circa 1910 and was re­stored from the orig­i­nal Mar­shall Hall carousel, which was the in­spi­ra­tion for the carousel project. Above right, the Lord Bal­ti­more horse cel­e­brates Mary­land’s his­tory.

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