By Justin Lofton
ADA — Kiwanis Club of Greater Ada recently began work to replace the carousel at Wintersmith Park.
“The other carousel has been here 50 years,” said Bob Vavricka, treasurer of the club. “It just reached the age that we needed to replace it.”
Vavricka said the roof of the pavilion the old carousel was housed in has been raised to make room for the new one. He said the floor has also been raised to protect the new carousel from flooding of the nearby creek.
The old carousel had 12 horses. The new carousel will have 10 horses that go around, up and down, along with four animals that won’t go up and down and a chariot that will allow wheelchair accessibility.
“We can easily take (the chariot) off and have a place so that an individual in a wheelchair would be able to come up a short ramp, get onto the platform and ride the carousel in a wheelchair,” he said. “We’re really excited about the new (carousel) having handicap accessibility. We’ll be providing a service to a part of the community that we haven’t been able to serve with the old carousel.”
He said Kiwanis members are excited about the endeavor.
“We’re starting a drive to get contributions to help fund it,” Vavricka said.
He said members expect the project to cost around $70,000 when it’s finished. Materials and labor to this point have been mostly donated.
“We’re hoping we’ll be able to raise enough donations that we won’t have to borrow much, if any, money to finish it off,” he said.
He said a plaque would be displayed at the entrance to the carousel for donors to the project. A minimum donation of $100 is required to be included on the plaque. The club is partnering with Preserving Ada Stories in Time (PAST) so donations can be tax-deductible.
The old carousel is currently being stored at the Ada armory. Vavricka said club members are considering donating it to the museum proposed at that location.
“There are certainly some people in town who want to keep the old carousel here since it’s been a part of Ada’s history for so long,” he said.
Kiwanis Club of Greater Ada initiated and currently runs several activities at Wintersmith Park, including train rides and the concession stand.
“The first project was putting in the train. The train you see on the monument up there was built by some of the original members,” he said. “They laid the track and that’s what started this whole project down here.”
The cars currently being used for the train rides were built 50 years ago by former club members.
“It was the year following the train that they bought the old carousel,” Vavricka said.
He said the club hopes to have the new carousel in operation by May 1.
To donate or learn more about the project, contact Vavricka at (580) 332-5049 or e-mail email@example.com. To make tax-deductible donations through PAST, mail donations to PAST, Charles Barrick, Treasurer, 310 S. New Bethel Blvd., Ada, OK, 74820 and designate on the check that the donation is for the Kiwanis carousel. Barrick may be contacted at (580) 421-3206.