The Bushnell Park Carousel celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, and Hartford officials have planned the perfect celebration. They will spend $1 million on improvements such as heat, restrooms and a multi-function room that will allow the popular attraction to stay open all year.
But the city should take one more step: Name it after, or dedicate it to, the late Jack Dollard, who brought the marvelous merry-go-round to Hartford and designed its building.
Mr. Dollard was an architect, artist, planner and activist over the last four decades of the last century in Hartford, and evidence of his imagination and aesthetic can be found in many parts of the city, from the whimsical smokestack next to I-84 east to playgrounds and community gardens, to the Lincoln Culinary Institute building on Sigourney Street. As head of the Knox Foundation, he brought the 1914 carousel to Bushnell Park in 1974 and created its circular building.
When Mr. Dollard died in 2012, family and friends held a memorial service at the carousel, because it so summed up his playful, creative and generous spirit. When the city announced the expansion this week, former area resident Mark Loether emailed a friend in the city suggesting Mr. Dollard somehow be remembered in the newly renovated carousel.
What a splendid idea.