The Gesa Carousel of Dreams hit a major milestone this week.
After about 20 months of operation and more than 275,000 riders, the Kennewick landmark is officially debt-free.
The carousel debuted over the Labor Day weekend in 2014 with a loan of $354,000. Eliminating the debt has been a top priority for the carousel’s operators, who intend to plow any excess revenue into a fund to preserve its antique horses and into an endowment.
The Kennewick carousel was built in 1910 for Silver Beach Amusement Park in St. Joseph, Mich. by the Fred Dolle Co., The carousel went into storage when the park closed in 1971 and was eventually sold to the Three Rivers Carousel Foundation in 2003.
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Since opening in the Southridge area, it has hosted 500 events and formed partnerships with numerous community nonprofits. It is staffed by four employees and nearly 40 volunteer ambassadors.
The carousel will celebrate its debt-free status with a community party from 5 to 7 p.m. April 15 at 2901 Southridge Blvd.