Sandpoint Reader: Carousel of Smiles restoration passes halfway point

The Carousel of Smiles restoration project, initiated in 2018 by Clay and Reno Hutchison, is approaching completion with over 10,000 volunteer hours invested in the meticulous restoration of the 1920 Allan Herschell carousel. Currently, 18 out of 36 horses have been fully restored, with plans to finish the restoration by 2024. The project includes an innovative building designed by local architect Tim Boden, situated along Sand Creek at the old Lakeside Inn location, serving as both a carousel house and a cultural center. The proposed facility, with a second-floor balcony, art gallery space, and solar panels, aims to be a year-round community space hosting various events and activities. While initially considering City Beach, the Hutchisons are now exploring a location at the Sand Creek parking lot, awaiting the land transfer process with the Idaho Transportation Department for approval. Despite the hurdles, the Hutchisons remain optimistic, emphasizing the community’s overwhelming support and excitement for the carousel’s future home in Sandpoint.

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The Daily Bee: Carousel’s ‘ponies’ closing in on home of their own

The Carousel of Smiles in Sandpoint, Idaho, is making significant progress towards completion, thanks to the efforts of the community and the owners, Reno and Clay Hutchinson. The golden age carousel, purchased in 2000, is being meticulously restored with the help of volunteers, including the “Gear and Grease Gang” and the “Godfather Squad.” The restoration process involves careful painting and attention to detail, with each horse taking over 400 hours of work before it is handed off to the artists. The Hutchinsons presented updated renderings of the Carousel Pavilion Arts and Events Center to the Sandpoint City Council, emphasizing the carousel’s role as the centerpiece of the facility. The Hutchinsons envision the carousel becoming a year-round attraction, contributing to the community’s economic lifestyle and providing a space for various events. The current plan places the carousel at Sand Creek, offering access to both City Beach and downtown Sandpoint. While the carousel is the highlight of the building, the facility is designed to be a multi-use complex, allowing for flexibility in its use.

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