MISSOULA — There's no re-opening date yet but managers of the popular Carousel for Missoula say they're making progress toward the ride being back in operation, thanks to local expertise and fundraising.
The Carousel had to be shut down a couple of weeks ago, after the main bearing in the century-old ride failed. That bearing is right at the top of the 10-ton ride, and managers say it just isn't safe to operate until its replaced.
The problem is, you can't just run down to the hardware store for a replacement, raising initial questions on how to complete repairs. Carousel Executive Director Theresa Cox tells us the community is pitching in.
Andy Troutwine, who has extensive experience with old machinery including the "steamers" and tractors at Fort Missoula, was able to remove the old bearing and is fabricating a replacement by hand.
Plus, donations have started to roll in. Over the past few days, children have been donating the money they would have spent on the ride, including individuals and the kids from the Discovery Pre-school and Infant Center who stopped by last week.
A Go-fund-me page has been set up by Engel & Völkers. Cox says donations are extremely helpful, since 75% of the Carousel's annual operating expenses come during the summer months.