A May 30, 1963 photo in the Somerset Journal portrayed some of the preparation for the project by architect Boris Timchenko. “Two landscape architects and site planners from Washington D.C. make a final survey of the park in the Fountain Square ... for remodeling and beautification of the park.”
Sound familiar? Since last winter, Somerset has been abuzz with talk of the current Fountain Square beautification project, paid for with a $1 million grant ($200,000 of it coming from the county) courtesy of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.
How about this? In Mrs. Cooper’s words in November 1963, she and the senator “offered to have the park restored to its original beauty — just as a gift to the people of Somerset and Pulaski County. Their plans, however, were delayed by a controversy between the governing bodies of the city and county as to which had jurisdiction over the Fountain Square.”
Flip forward in time to a a Feb. 10, 2011 article in the Commonwealth Journal by Bill Mardis, which begins, “ Maintaining a firm resolve in the face of what appears to be a shaky truce with city government, Pulaski Fiscal Court on Tuesday approved a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to beautify Fountain Square.
“Somerset Mayor Eddie Girdler is worried about how the Fountain Square project will affect his dream to revitalize the downtown area,” added the article. “ ... Girdler envisions the heart of the downtown area as a pedestrian-friendly spot with outdoor cafes, and condos to provide spaces for people who would like to live downtown. However, Girdler contends if the county spends $1 million and preserves the square it will nullify his plan to create the type of downtown he would like to see.”
City and county tussling over a Fountain Square makeover? The more things change, it seems, the more they stay the same.