St. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Several fundraising efforts have popped up throughout the community and on social media since St. Augustine's beloved carousel was dismantled.
But according to city leaders, the community could soon see another one in place of the J&S Carousel on San Marco Avenue at San Carlos Avenue in Davenport Park.
"But the kids call it 'carousel park,'" explained Elise Larsen, a St. Augustine mother who brought her daughter to the park on Friday.
Larsen said typically they would ride the carousel, but there is no carousel to ride since it was dismantled and transported to Port Charlotte, home of the charming 1927 carousel's owner, who passed away, and his widow.
"It changes the dynamic of the park," Larsen said. "It’s quiet today."
But that quiet could soon be history, according to St. Augustine City Manager John Regan.
"In my years of government service, I have never seen such a driven community on one topic," he told News4Jax.
Regan said there is a lot of interest in the carousel, and he is funneling multiple efforts into one successful movement to have the carousel replaced.
"Whether it’s an antique carousel or a new carousel, that’s to be determined," Regan said.
He said a replacement could cost between $150,000 and $200,000.
"There are multiple GoFundMe sites. I have people who are looking to make carousel donations as part of their will. There are all types of things coming out the woodwork right now. We can't keep up with it, creativity," Regan said.
He also suspects the replacement could come sooner rather than later, as there is so much public interest right now. For many, making way for another generation to go around and around in St. Augustine is exciting news.
"We would love that. Every time we could here, we take a ride on the carousel. The girls would really love it," said Lea Rogero, a St. Augustine resident.