The center of downtown Somerset is about to become a high-rise flower garden.
“It’s called “Elevated Landscaping Foundations,” said Somerset Mayor Eddie Girdler, explaining end results of workers tearing up sections of sidewalk around Fountain Square.
“That (‘Elevated Landscaping Foundations’) is really bureaucratese for big flower boxes. It’s part of our plan to start reshaping downtown,” Girdler continued. “Can you imagine driving into the center of town with the fountain surrounded on all sides by flowers in elevated boxes?”
The large flower boxes will be elevated above higher curbs and wider sidewalks on all sides of the square, eventually extending about a block along North and South Main streets and East and West Mt. Vernon streets. “Existing parking spaces will not be affected,” Girdler emphasized.
The mayor said bricks forming the “Elevated Landscaping Foundations” will match bricks on the recently renovated Fountain Square. “It’s being done to blend in with the fountain and square,” he insisted. Benches on sidewalks around town have been and will be moved to make way for the elevated flower boxes.
“There are benches on the square and I believe people would rather sit on the square and watch the fountain than on the sidewalks watching cars,” Girdler suggested.
The beautification is a two-year project. An $18,000 contract has been awarded to BMB Lawnworks, Somerset, to develop “Elevated Landscaping Foundations” alongside First and Farmers Bank on the south side of the square.
“We had to do that first because of surface water problems from drainage off the plaza at the Pulaski Court of Justice,” Girdler said. “Other contracts will be let as the project progresses,” he noted.
“What kind of flowers will be in the big flower boxes?” a reporter wondered.
“I don’t know much about flowers,” Girdler laughed. “That’s for somebody else.”
The flower boxes won’t hinder pedestrian traffic. “There will be spaces between the boxes to allow people to access the sidewalks and businesses,” Girdler noted.