KENNEWICK -- Kennewick city Councilman Paul Parish thinks the city shouldn't be so quick to get rid of its 101-year-old carousel.
Parish told fellow council members Tuesday that the 44-horse carousel built in 1910 by renowned carver Charles Carmel should be given another chance.
"I think we need to give the carousel a home, some place like Columbia Park," he said.
Parish's remarks come a week after the council voiced unanimous agreement that time had come to recoup the city's $815,000 investment in the antique carousel.
The basket-case machine and faded horses were purchased, mostly with the help of city dollars, in 2003. Since then, the horses have been restored through efforts of the nonprofit Three Rivers Carousel Foundation.
But fundraising came to a stop in recent years, with no progress made to complete mechanical restoration and find a place to put the carousel.
Council members learned last week that the foundation members had run out of options.
Parish did not attend last week's council workshop because he had a business-related appointment out of town.
But Parish said he wanted to share his views this week.
"I have total faith the people of the Tri-Cities will step forth and support this if we'll give it a home. You cannot put a price on the smile on a child's face," he said.
Parish said the city council has taken a lot of negative hits recently, referring to the Columbia Park Golf Course lawsuit and settlement and criticism about the carousel.
"It's time we did something positive," he said.
Other council members remained silent as Parish concluded his remarks.
But Parish said after the meeting that he was working on influencing fellow council members and is confident the story about the carousel isn't finished.
Marie Mosley, city manager, said last week that it will be several weeks before a complete audit of the carousel foundation's accounting of funds is completed. She will give a report to the council at that time, when the council may decide on the carousel's future.
Also Tuesday, the council held a farewell party for Kevin Ferguson, who is retiring after being with the city for 30 years.
Ferguson was hired in May 1981 as an administrative assistant, and by August 1990 was assistant city manager, a position he held for 21 years.
Ferguson received a resolution commending his dedicated service.
He said he intends to spend retirement years volunteering at the Presbyterian church he attends in Kennewick and in other social service in the community.
"I came and intended to stay for three to five years. It's been great," he said.
* John Trumbo: 509-582-1529; firstname.lastname@example.org