Effort Means New Life for Merry-Go-Round

Thursday, September 29, 2016
Most of the workers responsible for the renovation of the merry-go-round gathered for a photo last week in front of the iconic piece of equipment. Pictured are, from left: Front-Todd Watson, Joey Fannin and Brad Green. Back-Jerry Mansfield and Mike Dowdy.(TD photo/Tim Blair)

Thanks to the efforts of City of Rector workers, and volunteers, a piece of local history was renovated recently and pressed back into service. Visitors to this year's Rector Labor Day Picnic may have noticed the merry-go-round, which is located near the community center, had been replaced with a new one. Actually, at the heart of the "new" piece of playground equipment are components from the one which has served local kids for decades.

"This was the merry-go-round that was at the old Rector Elementary School," City Superintendent Todd Watson explained. "They donated it to the city back in the 1990s and it was moved to the park."

Watson noted over the years the aged merry-go-round continued to deteriorate, and two years ago it had to be removed.

"It rusted out--all of the panels and the railings just rusted away," he offered. "So, about two years ago we went ahead and took it out."

He noted the public immediately noticed the absence of the merry-go-round and inquired about when it would be returned. This prompted discussions on the subject, and led to the project by City of Rector employees.

"It was in bad shape, in fact about the only part of it that's from the original merry-go-round is the hub," Watson explained. "And, we had to replace both of the bearings, and those were a couple of hundred dollars each."

The cost of the project was covered by funds from the Rector Community Center, and amounted to about $2,000. "We were glad to be able to do it," noted Linda Robinson, director of the community center. "It's a piece of Rector history--kids from several generations have enjoyed it and we were happy to be a part of bringing it back."

Watson noted the work was done by city employees, with Joey Fannin volunteering to handle the painting. And, thanks to their hard work the project was completed just in time.

"We set it up right before Labor Day, in fact we worked on it that Friday," Watson explained. "And, I can tell you that it was used all weekend long."

Watson noted there were kids on the merry-go-round almost constantly throughout the run of the annual picnic, keeping a long-standing tradition.

"Including the time it was at the elementary school, and the time it has been at the park, hundreds of Rector kids have used the merry-go-round," offered Kim Romine of the City of Rector. "There have been several generations of local kids that have enjoyed it, and thanks to the renovation kids will be able to play on it for decades more to come."

Last week Watson, Fannin and city employees Mike Dowdy, Jerry Mansfield and Brad Green gathered at the merry-go-round for a photo opportunity. Fannin also took a moment to touch-up the vibrant red-white and blue paint job.

Watson noted the new piece of equipment may look like the old one, but is constructed with the best and most modern components available.

"We got heavy steel plates and had them formed to shape, and the railings were all mandrel bent at a muffler shop in Kennett," he added. "It is really put together well, I think it's going to be around for a long time to come.

Beaming with pride the men shared stories about the merry-go-round, and even offered to provide Watson with a free ride for this reporter--which he declined.

"So many kids played on this thing, I've played on it," Watson offered. "It's really satisfying to see it back in use again."

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