BOCA RATON, FL (Boca Post) (Copyright © 2023) — Boca Raton city leaders tell us when they expect to re-open the Carousel at Sugar Sand Park.
Many readers have reached out to Boca Post asking why the Sugar Sand Carousel is closed. The Sugar Sand Park website has only provided the following statement about the closure:
“THE CAROUSEL WILL BE CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. We apologize for any inconvenience.”
Boca Post has reached out to city leaders for answers because, like you, we miss the Carousel at Sugar Sand Park.
What Is The Sugar Sand Carousel?
If you didn’t already know, the carousel at Sugar Sand Park is 36′ in diameter and has 30 “jumping” horses that are adored by all. The horses are reproductions of hand-carved originals that were once used on steam powered machines of the 19th century. The hand-painted fiberglass reproductions that circle the carousel today hold up to the South Florida sun better than the originals; however, that is not the case for the rest of the carousel.
Why Is The Sugar Sand Carousel Closed?
The Greater Boca Raton Beach & Park District owns Sugar Sand Park and has been working to identify ongoing repairs to get the Carousel up and running again.
As many of our readers have said, the carousel has been broken for a long time. Briann Harms, Executive Director of the Greater Boca Raton Beach & Park District, tells us why the carousel seems to be in a perpetual state of repair. Because it is.
“Prior to November 2022 we relied on our contractor, the City of Boca Raton, to subcontract repair work on the Carousel”, Harms says.
This is a difficult task as skilled ride mechanics have become more difficult to find. The Greater Boca Raton Beach & Park District then put out a request for proposals for a potential third party to perform inspections and repairs on the Carousel in order to keep it in good repair. That contract was awarded to a licensed ride mechanics vendor who performed a comprehensive evaluation of the carousel in December of 2021 and identified significant repairs that needed to be made.
Parts were ordered; however, since the parts are proprietary and difficult to source from the original manufacturer, they were not delivered until June of 2022. The ride then re-opened in July of 2022 after passing a state inspection.
The carousel was then shut down again in June of this year when an annual inspection identified that the main drive assembly was in disrepair and must be replaced. The horses stopped again. Sadly, this part, like many others on the carousel, are proprietary and can only be provided by the original manufacturer, Chance Rides. Harms says that the part currently needed to repair the carousel will not be delivered until October.
While the ride may be repaired again by the end of the year, we suspect this may be the last time.
The carousel was first installed in 2005 and while it has operated well for many years, the extreme heat and humidity of south Florida has taken a toll on it’s operability. Because of the age and difficulty with proprietary parts to fix the problematic carousel, the department is researching a possible replacement for the carousel, Harms says.