New carousel coming to Inner Harbor

Last operator ordered out after failing to pay bills

January 03, 2013|By Luke Broadwater, The Baltimore Sun

Nearly a year after the Inner Harbor's historic carousel was ordered to move over unpaid bills, the city has struck a deal with a new merry-go-round operator.

Charm City Carousel Entertainment LLC, of Stevensville, will bring a new carousel to the city's downtown waterfront in the spring, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said Thursday.

"Baltimore's Inner Harbor draws families from all over the country and the world to experience everything our unique waterfront has to offer," the mayor said in a statement. "This new carousel is yet another new attraction for visitors and residents to enjoy. It will be a real treat to see our bright and bustling skyline from atop a member of the carousel's animal menagerie."

The new merry-go-round will be located between the Maryland Science Center and Rash Field. City officials will enter into a lease agreement with Charm City pending approval of the Board of Estimates, which is controlled by Rawlings-Blake.

Under the agreement, Charm City would operate a classic carousel with 30 menagerie figures, including horses and other animals, and two chariots. Charm City would pay the city $50,000 annually in rent, according to the proposal.

Richard Knight, who owned the 106-year-old carousel previously located in downtown Baltimore, removed it from the Inner Harbor in March after city officials ordered it out. Sales had slumped, and the Baltimore Development Corporation said he hadn't paid his rent for five years or kept the attraction in good repair. Knight argued the city did not allow him to upgrade or sell food.

A petition to save the carousel — which residents have celebrated as an iconic symbol in the harbor — drew nearly 900 signatures.

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