Inner Harbor carousel could be replaced with another

A new merry-go-round — possibly with Maryland-themed figures such as a blue crab and Baltimore oriole — could be brought in to replace the antique carousel that for a generation entertained children visiting Baltimore's Inner Harbor but was ordered out this year.

Baltimore Development Corp.said Friday that it has received two responses to its request for family-friendly proposals at the site, between the Maryland Science Center and Rash Field.M.J. "Jay" Brodie, president of the BDC, said his agency did not specify that it should be a carousel, but both companies proposed one.

"It's an attractive proposition to have a new carousel there," said Brodie, who hopes to have it running next spring.

TC Amusements, a Severn company that maintains a carousel at the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore and Zoo New England in Boston, proposed a ride with local flavor. Figures on the outer row could include a Baltimore Raven, a rockfish and a train engine as well as the blue crab and oriole, with traditional carousel animals inside.

Charm City Carousel Entertainment proposed a "classic" ride with 30 figures — horses and other animals — and two chariots. The company could not be reached for comment.

Richard Knight, who owns the 106-year-old carousel they're vying to replace, removed it from the Inner Harbor in March after city officials ordered it out. Sales had slumped, and the BDC said he hadn't paid his rent for five years or kept the attraction in good repair.

Knight said the city did not allow him to upgrade or sell food. He's refurbishing the carousel now — parked in his driveway — and said other cities have expressed interest, but he's upset its 31-year streak in Baltimore came to an end.

A petition to save the carousel, with its wooden menagerie, drew more than 800 signatures.

"We made money when the Inner Harbor was making money," Knight said. He wished good luck to whatever replaces it, "but I don't think they'll make it."

Chris Chamberlin, a partner with TC Amusements, said he believes a carousel can work on the site if it is new and has eye-catching figures that children "would want to be on and be seen on."

"We think it would be a great attraction and make the city money," said Chamberlin, whose partner is Ted Shaw of concessionaire Crown Foods Inc.

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