Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo gave city officials the ok to remove possible racist imagery from the carousel at Ontario Beach Park, after community activists protested an event Dinolfo attended Jan. 14.
The county said Dinolfo made the decision due to a letter she received from Mayor Lovely Warren and Rochester City Council President Loretta Scott last week, which deemed the image as “repugnant.”
According to Dinolfo, the city would have to obtain approval from the Preservation Board in order to alter the 111-year-old carousel, and, following that, must pay for the alteration itself.
“After the city obtains approval, the city may alter the carousel at its expense, and complete the project before the carousel’s opening this spring,” Dinolfo stated.
Previously, former county executive Maggie Brooks’ declined to have the image removed, and city officials said Warren and Scott sent the same letter to Dinolfo as the one it sent Brooks’ administration, which asked to replace the controversial image with a picture similar to the remaining ones.
“The spirit of cooperation has long defined the working relationship between the city and the county,” Warren said in a statement. “I want to thank county executive Dinolfo for embracing that legacy of cooperation, and agreeing to the city’s plan to remove the offensive carousel panel. This depiction has caused pain, and anguish, to members of the African-American community, and a great cross-section of our city’s and county’s residents who find its racist depiction and message to be repugnant. Today we have shown we can, and will, work together, so our city and county can thrive, and remain communities that take pride in their inclusiveness and diversity.”
Warren and Scott said they have had preliminary conversations with the Rochester Museum and Science Center about housing the image, which would “put its unflattering, racially-biased depiction into an educational context.”
Previously, city officials said the city owns the carousel, but the county operates it, which therefore gives the county the ultimate authority to remove the image.