If things go as planned, sometime today the newly created fountain in the center of Fountain Square will come to life.
Tiffany Bourne, community development director for Pulaski County, said the water may be “off and on” as workers test the fountain. “ ... but we want to get the water flowing,” she said.
Somerset’s new fountain is designed by Russell Sitter, a Lexington water feature consultant known as “The Fountaineer.” The impressive display will feature 19 jets propelling water 15 feet into the air. An inner-raised pool will overflow into a lower pool.
The fountain will have a mind of its own. Sensors atop First and Farmers National Bank building on the south side of the square will lower the water display in light wind and shut it down completely when the wind is high.
Bourne said The Fountain Square Beautification Project is about 90 percent complete. “We’ve still got to do the crosswalks and we’re waiting on the furnishings,” she said.
A dedicatory program for the new-look square is planned but not yet scheduled. Bourne said she wants “ ... every i dotted and every t crossed” before setting the dedicatory date.
Fountain Square has been a gathering place since shortly after Somerset was first settled in 1798. Old photographs show horses and buggies tethered at the perimeter of large crowds standing on what appeared to be dirt footing.
A fountain has been there 105 years. A committee of county justices and town commissioners was formed in 1893 to plan for a fountain on the public square. Some 15 years later -- in 1908 -- this was accomplished when a group called the Commercial Club raised $1,250 from citizens and businesses. This, along with appropriations from Pulaski Fiscal Court and Somerset Town Council, was used to pay for developing the square and installing a fountain.
Electricity to operate the fountain was from a line extended from the courthouse. As hand-written minutes and documents produced on manual typewriters gave way to electronic recordkeeping, the spewing fountain often overloaded the courthouse’s electrical system and disrupted equipment in county government offices.