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Carousel 'Very High Priority' for Mayor

East Providence Mayor James Briden schedules a special meeting of the City Council on Monday, Feb. 11, to focus on two issues: repairs, and ownership and operation.

A special meeting of the East Providence City Council will be held Monday, Feb. 11, to focus on the city’s historic tourist icon -- the Looff Carousel in Crescent Park.

The special meeting was set up by Mayor James Briden at Tuesday’s regular City Council session. He said there are two “very high priority” issues that must be dealt with as soon as possible:

  1. The historic carousel needs about $100,000 worth of windows, painting and other repairs. A request for proposal (RFP) put together by the Carousel Commission to get that work done must get the approval of the East Providence Budget Commission before it can be sent out.
  2. The ownership and operation of the carousel is in some doubt even though the property is owned by the city. City Solicitor Timothy Chapman is expected to offer his opinion on the ownership and operation concern.

“I spent last Friday evening reviewing the carousel issues with Tim Chapman,” said Briden. “We concluded that we need a vote on the issue of the RFP for repair work prior to going to the East Providence Budget Commission.” 

“We need to expedite repairs as soon as possible,” he said. “This is very important to the city. It is a historic site that is extremely important to East Providence residents.” 

The carousel could reopen in the spring without the repairs and windows, he said. 

“But we need to get the work done, and I want to get it done as soon as possible,” Briden said. “I want the City Council to send a recommendation to the budget commission.”

Regarding the ownership and operation issues, he said, the solicitor will address those at Monday’s meeting.

“He will have the answers to the legal questions,” the mayor said. “He began working on them immediately after his hiring was confirmed by the budget commission (on Jan. 31).”

The City Council and the Carousel Commission are supposed to work together on the carousel, added City Manager Peter Graczykowski. In the past, he said, the commission has tended to go its own way at times.

“We need to make sure it works the way it’s supposed to work,” said Graczykowski of the commission. 

The budget commission has already worked on a couple of other Carousel Commission issues, he said.

“They came up with hiring practices for seasonal workers,” Graczykowskis said. “And they’ve ruled on certain purchases.”

The RFP for repairs and windows was put on hold, the city manager said. Lifting that hold is a high priority for the mayor.

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