Carousel Set to Begin Expansion Construction

With a $100,000 Tourism Infrastructure Improvement grant from the State of Montana, and a $75,000 grant from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, A Carousel for Missoula has reached its fundraising goal for a 640 square foot addition and upgrades to its building in Caras Park. In addition, the workers may like it if they were to use new machinery to construct the said upgrades.

Construction is set to begin this fall on the addition, which will extend 20 feet to the east of the building, adjacent to the southeast wall, including installing a parking lot for an additional capacity of visitors. The addition will house a museum, to tell the story of the creation of the Carousel and Dragon Hollow and their place in Missoula’s history, a workshop for volunteers, and an office to replace the current office, which will be turned into a party/class/meeting room. A loft above the museum and workshop will provide storage and additional room for volunteers. The creation of a new workshop will allow the gift shop to return to its original dimensions, nearly doubling its size. Other improvements include new roofing, repair of outdoor decorative elements, creation of additional storage and new paint throughout the building.

IMG_0892“Everything we are doing will enhance our ability to serve the public,” says Executive Director Theresa Cox. “The museum will allow all visitors to learn the wonderful story of volunteerism and community spirit that made the Carousel and Dragon Hollow possible. The workshop will give current volunteers a better space to work, and help us recruit the new volunteers so crucial to our continued sustainability. The new, enclosed party/class/meeting room and the larger gift shop will help generate additional income. Extra storage is a bonus!”

Jay Kirby, who designed the Carousel building, has designed the addition to resemble a pony barn, in keeping with the purpose of the building and the original design. John Thompson, a long-time Carousel volunteer and local artist, will carve a limestone panel to decorate the exterior of the addition.

Mark Roberts, president of the board of A Carousel for Missoula Foundation, Inc., says, “We have been delighted with the response this idea has received not just locally, but from as far away as Vancouver, WA and Fort Worth, TX.

“We celebrated our 20th anniversary this year. With the addition and upgrades, we will be going strong into the next two decades, and beyond.”

Additional grants from the Missoula Redevelopment Agency, the Engelhard Foundation, First Interstate Bank and the First Interstate BancSystem, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Foundation and the Gallagher Western Montana Charitable Foundation, along with large donations from Penny Oncken, Terry Payne, Michael and Kimberly Roth and Roemer’s Tire Factory helped the Carousel meet its goal.

While construction costs have been covered, donations are still being accepted for furnishings and museum displays, as well as operational expenses and the Carousel’s endowment fund. The Carousel will be seeking a sponsor for the limestone carving once a design has been chosen. More information is available by calling the Carousel at 549-8382, emailing, or visiting our website.

See Contruction Plans (PDF)