Carousel project moves forward to design

There is still no carousel on Main St. but the group tasked with attempting to put one there is still hard at work. 

The Friends of the Cottage Grove Carousel are moving forward with plans to place an antique carousel downtown to attract tourists and delight residents alike. After a no-show banquet and a consultation with students from the University of Oregon, the group has moved on to the tangible pieces of the project. 

As a meeting held on Wednesday, May 10, board member Don Williams debuted an idea. What if historical photographs could be used for the sideboards of the attraction? And better yet, what if Cottage Grove residents had the opportunity to vote on which 12 photographs would make the cut? 

“These are just test, experimental photographs,” Williams informed the board last Wednesday as he and fellow board member Russ McGuire showed off the prints they had enlarged with the help of donated time by a local resident. 

The photographs ranged from a railroad scene to a sunset-sky but the common theme was Cottage Grove. The goal is to garner up to 12 photos to use as scenes on the sideboards of the carousel with the possibility of changing the photographs depending on the time of the year and to coincide with special occasions. 

The cost associated with the printing of the 20” by 48” images was estimated at $54 each. In order to continue the campaign to bring the carousel to Main St., the group will continue fundraising. 

Its last event, was a no-show banquet that asked residents to donate rather than attend another charity event. It's funds that are needed with money being spent on grant writers, advertising and other necessities to get the word out about the carousel. 

The idea began more than two decades ago when Cottage Grove resident Judy Cash moved to town. She said the town and its 1950's atmosphere was begging for a carousel and one day, an opportunity presented itself. 

A friend of the family passed away, leaving Cash and her husband a lump sum. 

"He went to Europe and bought a tank. I went to Virginia and bought a carousel," she tells of the origin of the carousel's arrival in Cottage Grove. 

It was then that she attempted to bring her initial thought upon seeing Cottage Grove to fruition. However, the efforts to place the carousel on Main St. would volley between active and dormant for 20 years. 

Enter Don Williams and Russ McGuire. The two teamed up with Cash and began the Friends of Cottage Grove Carousel group once again, hoping to raise enough funds to get the project off the ground. 

It's still in need of a location, official plans and restoration. 

While Cottage Grove High School students have begun restoring the animals during an art class, funds are still needed to obtain licensed drawings of the plans for a structure to house the carousel. 

The group has held fundraisers and is pursuing grants but as of Wednesday's meeting, it had just enough in its bank account to cover the bills. Further, the group is attempting to complete its nonprofit status within the next few weeks after complications including personal health issues and communication among the group members. 

For now, Friends of the Cottage Grove Carousel will focus on designing a contest for residents to help choose the photographs for the attraction's sideboards. Further information will be made available as the details become secure. 

To donate to the effort, contact (541) 649-1210. 


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