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Carousel owners willing to sell to Coeur d’Alene

Sun., Dec. 26, 2010, 3:08 p.m.

The owners of a 90-year-old carousel that used to delight children at Playland Pier near Independence Point in Coeur d’Alene say they’re willing to sell it to the city.

The Perron family owns the 20-horse machine built in New York in the 1920s and that twirled in Coeur d’Alene from the 1940s through the 1970s.

“I think there are people in the community who are very interested in the idea because of its history,” Coeur d’Alene Mayor Sandi Bloem told the Coeur d’Alene Press. “If that interest is there then I think that people who have that passion should investigate” how to make the return possible.

But the city doesn’t have room in its budget, meaning outside help would be needed.

Duane Perron said the machine could be worth about $500,000. It’s been fully restored and is in storage in Hood River, Ore. It’s one of only 100 left in the world, with the Perron Family owning 21 of them.

The family is building a new museum and said the Coeur d’Alene carousel won’t be displayed. Perron said if the carousel doesn’t go to northern Idaho, it would probably go to an auction house in New York.

A previous shot at getting the carousel back to Couer d’Alene about a decade ago came with a $150,000 annual lease, and a deal was never finalized.

Richard LeFrancis wants Coeur d’Alene to get the carousel, noting having it could be a tourist attraction for the downtown’s redeveloped core.

“It’s right here,” LeFrancis said. “Everyone can talk a blue streak about what happened then, but it’s about what can happen now.”

If Coeur d’Alene can’t get the carousel, Post Falls Mayor Clay Larkin said his city would be interested.

“It can be an absolute year round tourist attraction,” he said. We’ll just keep our ear to the ground.”



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