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Burlington postpones Carousel Festival due to snags in construction of housing

Amid the melting snow from this weekend’s winter storm, Burlington’s City Park came alive with a flurry of construction activity on Tuesday, as contractors went back to work on a new $2.8 million structure that will eventually house the city’s antique Dentzel Carousel.

The completion of the carousel’s new housing was originally supposed to coincide with a $1.2 million restoration of the antique amusement. The city had previously hoped to wrap up both of these projects in the opening months of 2022, and in expectation of their concurrent completion, the city’s leaders even moved up the date of Burlington’s next annual Carousel Festival from September to May of this year.

The carousel’s restoration has since come full circle – with the ride’s recent release from the Ohio workshop where it was sent for refurbishment in 2019. Yet, the construction of its housing hasn’t gone nearly as smoothly, prompting the rush of construction work that’s currently underway at City Park.

Dentzel Carousel animals have been restored, ready to be re-installed


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The lumbering pace of the housing’s construction has also forced the city’s top brass to rethink their plans for a spring iteration of the Carousel Festival. Last week, the city formally announced that it had postponed the event to its traditional date in the fall due to supply chain disruptions that had stalled work on the housing.

“This is an unprecedented time for the construction industry around the nation, and the carousel house project is not immune to the impacts,” the city went on to note in a news release on Thursday. “There have been challenges to acquiring everything from caulk and façade stone to roof materials, [and] the carousel house requires some very specialized, custom components and finishings that are proving particularly difficult to guarantee delivery of.”

According to Morgan Lasater, a spokeswoman for the city of Burlington, contractors had experimented with different building materials in an attempt to keep the project on schedule. Yet, these efforts apparently weren’t enough to offset the effect of the aforementioned supply chain disruptions.

In a recent memo to Burlington’s city council, city manager Hardin Watkins acknowledged that the city’s contractors have run into numerous snags with the supplies and materials for the carousel’s housing. As a result, Central Builders, the general contractor for this project, has notified the city that it doesn’t expect the work to be finished until some time this summer.

Watkins went on to inform the council that the components of the refurbished carousel will remain in storage until the ride’s housing is ready.

Meanwhile, contractors have been racing to make up for lost time on the multimillion-dollar edifice that’s taking shape on the grounds of City Park.

Currently,” the city noted in last Thursday’s release, “crews are…working to complete the roof, painting the interior spaces, and beginning masonry work in the courtyard area.”

The former carousel’s home can be seen in the background beyond the construction of the housing for the restored carousel.

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