The Friends of Downtown Friendswood withdrew its plan last week to install a new wooden carousel in Stevenson Park next-door to City Hall. Since last November, the site’s been home to a concrete pad left behind when the 42-year-old Fire Station #1 pictured above was demolished and its staff relocated to a new facility at 1610 Whitaker Dr., built with funds from a 2013 bond referendum. By the time of the teardown, the carousel idea (code-named “Project C”) was already on the table, and some residents accused city council of being a little too demolition-happy, owing to their friendliness with the civic organization that proposed it, reported the Chronicle‘s Jeremy Gingrich.
Instead of getting rid of the building, some argued, why not turn its 9,000 sq.-ft. into a community center to double down on the space offered by the city’s existing 9,500-sq.-ft. Friendswood Activity Building shown below at 416 Morningside St.?
Doing so would have cost more than half a million dollars though according to Councilman Steve Rockey’s since the building, he also claimed, is not up to code.
All of the money for the carousel and adjacent add-ons — like a live event stage, fountain, and concession stand — would have come from donations to the Friends, members told City Council, with an additional private nest egg tucked away to handle out-of-the-ordinary expenses. $500,000 had already been pledged last year, reported Nora Olabi over at Community Impact. But naysayers said regardless that after installing the equipment, there was “no clear plan to pay for repairs, upkeep or costs associated with accidents or injuries.“
- Friendswood Carousel Park Announcement [Friends of Downtown Friendswood]
- ‘Divisive’ Friendswood carousel proposal is dead [Houston Chronicle]
- Group pushes to add carousel in Friendswood [Houston Chronicle]
- Demolition of Friendswood fire station ignites debate [Houston Chronicle]