The Carousel of Dreams ponies are closer to going round and round late this summer, thanks to a $500,000 donation from Toyota of Tri-Cities.
Eric Van Winkle, chairman of the Three Rivers Carousel Foundation board made the announcement at Tuesday's Kennewick City Council workshop.
Van Winkle said the dealership has promised to send $10,000 a month for 50 months beginning in April. "We can use the money for whatever we need to make this project a reality," he said.
Van Winkle gave the council a quick overview of the carousel project telling them the foundation is financially sound "and we are standing on our own."
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Gesa Credit Union paid $1 million for the naming rights to the carousel.
The project is estimated to cost about $1.9 million, but the foundation hopes to receive about one-third of that in in-kind services.
They still need to raise additional money to pay for the equipment that will move the historic carousel.
"The mechanism, being built by Carousel Works.com of Mansfield, Ohio, is almost75 percent paid for and almost 75 percent built. We still need someone or some business to commit to about $300,000 to sponsor the mechanism," Van Winkle said.
He told the council that the building plans for the 9,600-square-foot building to house the 1910 Charles Carmel carousel should be done by the end of the week. It will be built at Kennewick's Southridge Sports and Events Complex, and the council already has agreed to lease the land to the carousel foundation for $1 a year.
Van Winkle expects to break ground on the project in a few weeks and is confident it will be finished by the end of the summer.
"Then," he said, "this community will really notice the caliber of what we have."
w City Manager Marie Mosley reviewed a list of Washington state House and Senate bills the council identified as priorities for this legislative session.
"I want to be sure (the city) staff is focusing on the council's top issues," she said.
Some of the bills include anti-gang legislation, maintaining current uses for hotel-motel taxes and on annexations.
Four Kennewick residents spoke against proposed House Bill 1588 and Senate Bill 5625 that would require universal background checks on all gun transfers, even to a friend or relative.
Herald Publisher Gregg McConnell asked the council not to support a public records bill, House Bill 1128, which limits citizen access to records.
"It may not be good legislation for your citizens and could have grave consequences ... (T)he threshold for denying a request is very low. This bill eviscerates the public records request act," McConnell said.