Commonwealth Journal

September 16, 2013

Fountain Square to be dedicated Oct. 4

by Bill Mardis
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset —

“It turned out better than even I expected.”
Tiffany Bourne, community development director for Pulaski County, was reacting to a compliment that newly renovated Fountain Square is both impressive and beautiful. The Fountain Square Beautification Project, according to the contract deadline, will officially be complete Friday. Furnishings, including benches and planters, are expected to arrive “any day,” Bourne noted.
Congressman Hal Rogers will headline a group of local dignitaries who will speak during a dedication ceremony at 10 a.m. Friday, October 4. Among the scheduled speakers are Somerset Mayor Eddie Girdler, Pulaski County Judge-executive Barty Bullock, Kentucky Senator Chris Girdler and Mrs. Cornelia Dozier Cooper, sister-in-law of U.S. Senator and Ambassador John Sherman Cooper whose statue guards the historic downtown centerpiece.
A ribbon cutting ceremony will be presented by Somerset-Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce. The public is invited.
Designed by Russell Sitter, a Lexington water feature consultant known as “The Fountaineer,” the new fountain has been a traffic stopper. Water propelled 15 feet into the air flows into an inner-raised pool overflowing into a lower pool.
The new fountain is in normal operation. It’s water display is from 7 a.m. until midnight each day. The square is already a relaxing gathering place for downtowners.
Equipped with its own electrical system, the new fountain sits in the center of a new-look square, renovated with an $800,000 Transportation Enhancement Grant and $200,000 in-kind contribution from county government. It updates a centerpiece last renovated in 1963 by the late Senator Cooper and his wife, Lorraine.
Designed by M2D Design Group and Bell Engineering, new Fountain Square is an open plaza space that serves as a focal point and an inviting gathering place. Steps and surrounding walls provide a variety of informal seating.
Center of the square is a circular plaza of concrete paving and brick pavers. Memorial bricks are located in paver bands and commemorative plaques will be on benches and planters. The square renovation is designed to be cohesive with and complement the plaza at Pulaski Court of Justice.
A simple landscape of lawn, evergreen shrubs, grasses and trees creates a low maintenance frame for the plaza. Six of the existing cherry trees are preserved. Concrete planters provide opportunities for seasonal color.
Stamped crosswalks provide safe pedestrian crossings directly to Fountain Square. A raised island with a roll curb and stamped concrete is a pedestrian refuge at East Mt. Vernon Street.
“This is the first time people using a wheelchair have access to the square,” Bourne said. 
New striping and arrows will help direct traffic through the square. Signage will be consolidated and relocated on mast arms.
Hil-Don Inc., Burkesville, is general contractor for the project.