The Parks Department has been fruitlessly searching for an operator for the Forest Park carousel since its contract with New York One LLC lapsed in 2008.
In 2009, a request for proposal (RFP) was issued to the public but it garnered little interest and no response. Another RFP that was sent out shortly afterward also went unanswered. In 2010, Parks thought it had found a vendor, but the deal fell through.
Last April, Parks released another RFP to find a vendor for the abandoned carousel. Once again, there were no viable candidates.
Enough is enough. The Forest Park carousel is a treasure for the community and deserves a dedicated vendor. Forest Park serves Woodhaven, Kew Gardens, Richmond Hill and Glendale, and a functional carousel could make the park one of the go-to destinations in Queens.
The Parks Department’s current RFPs are obviously not interesting vendors. Parks has to become more creative, whether its bundling the contract with another carousel—the latest RFP did involve prospective vendors to take over the carousel in Fresh Meadows—or more concessions to revitalize the area around the carousel a vendor could use as food stands.
There is one thing we know. The minute the Forest Park carousel reopens its doors, there will be a line of excited residents and families waiting to give it a whirl. Parks needs to find a way to make its RFP enticing for vendors to make this a reality.