Commonwealth Journal

July 6, 2013

Fountain Square fence should be coming down in the next week

by Chris Harris
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset —

The process of beautification is something of a double-edged sword. In order for the county to construct a sparkling new Fountain Square in the center of Somerset, residents have had to put up with what was once town’s loveliest spot being surrounded by a distinctly ugly fence.
That won’t be the case for much longer.
Tiffany Bourne, Pulaski County Community Development Director, said that the fence is ready to come down. In fact, Bourne said, she expects the chain-metal border to be removed by next week.
“It’s just time for it to come down,” she told the Commonwealth Journal on Wednesday. “All the curb (work) has been done. They’re putting the final touches on everything.”
Hot summer days may feel like they drag, but the timetable for the Fountain Square’s makeover is actually moving quite rapidly. Bourne said she expects “water to be flowing” in the new-look fountain by August.
Meanwhile, the pieces are coming into place — literally. 
“The bottom (of the fountain) came in today,” said Bourne on Wednesday. “The bricks will go on the outside of the fountain and the centerpiece is being made right now. There’s about a 10-day turnaround time for it.”
Bourne said she expects the custom-crafted fountain centerpiece to arrive within two weeks’ time. “It’s a process,” she said. “It’s very detailed, very ornate.”
Bollard lights are up now — waist-high poles protruding from the floor that serve as barriers and contain interior illumination. They may help protect against cars running up on the square — it’s happened — but Bourne said they’re actually designed to break away if need be upon impact.
Renovation of Fountain Square is being done with an $800,000 Transportation Enhancement Grant and $200,000 in-kind contribution by Pulaski County government.
M2D Design Group and Bell Engineering are responsible for the look of the new square.
Superfluous spring showers delayed the project’s timetable earlier this year. Workers will get the sod in place in the next couple of weeks, but planting the bushes and flowers probably won’t take place until October, due to the oppressive summer heat.
However, with the sod and mulch in place, “it will start looking close to completion,” said Bourne.
Oh yes, and a pedestal in now in place for the return of the statue of Sen. John Sherman Cooper — Bourne suggested the likeness of the distinguished Senator from Somerset may be reclaiming its rightful place on the town square in the next couple of weeks.
With the fountain likely ready to go in August, Bourne is planning to have a dedication ceremony at that time.
“I’m so excited and relieved,” she said of the project’s progress. “I’m just ready for people to be able to enjoy it and make it part of our town’s history.”