Commonwealth Journal

Local News

August 22, 2013

Downtown Somerset ‘springing to life’

City Council praises ongoing revitalization

Somerset —

A revitalized downtown Somerset is drawing praise from city officials — and they’re on the edge of their seats awaiting the possibility of a large-scale plan that’s been hinted at for several weeks now. 
Somerset City Councilor Jimmy Eastham during the Aug. 12 council meeting said downtown Somerset seems to be “springing to life,” thanks to new construction, a number of community activities, and the completion of the new Fountain Square. 
“I think things are looking good for the downtown area and I’m proud of that, myself,” said Eastham. 
Several businesses, including a yoga studio and the Downtown Diva store, which had been located on Ogden Street, have moved to the East Mt. Vernon strip. At least one other business is expected to locate there as well.
The completion of the new, upgraded Fountain Square — which has garnered many compliments since the new fountain was activated last week as workers put the finishing touches on the project — and a flourishing community activity calendar are also noteworthy, according to city officials.
“That fountain is looking real good,” said Councilor Mike New.
The Judicial Center Plaza has been the setting of a number of events, including the new “Market on Main” event, which takes place each Thursday evening. Somernites Cruise, a summer tradition, has also brought a number of people to downtown Somerset. 
“Usage of the downtown area right now is at an all-time high,” said Councilor Jim Rutherford. 
The downtown renaissance of sorts comes at a time when city officials are working to close in on a multi-million dollar project that would help the city meet a $20 million threshold required for a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) plan that would allow for a large-scale infrastructure redevelopment of downtown Somerset through redirection of tax funds, primarily sales taxes.

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