Commonwealth Journal

December 18, 2012

Construction on Fountain Square will commence next week

By BILL MARDIS, Editor Emeritus
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset —  

Construction of the Fountain Square Beautification Project will begin December 28.
The date was set Tuesday afternoon during a pre-construction conference. Pulaski Fiscal Court earlier Tuesday authorized signing of a contract with HIl-Don Inc., Burkesville, as general contractor for the project. The contract amount is $760,665.39.
The contract allows 150 days for completion of the project, meaning it will be sometime in June before the public will have access to the renovated square.   
Traffic will move normally around the Fountain Square area during the construction period. Russell Sitter, designer of the fountain, said most of the work around the square will be boring beneath the streets.
Sitter gushes when he talks about the new fountain. He said it will be classical and unique. The water will jut 18 feet into the air from 15 nozzles. At night, the fountain will be illuminated with 19 lights.
The original fountain had only one nozzle. Later, during the 1970s, four additional nozzles were added.
Renovation of Fountain Square will be done with an $800,000 Transportation Enhancement Grant and $200,000 in-kind contribution by Pulaski County government. Tiffany Bourne, community development director for Pulaski County, wrote the grant application five years ago and it was approved.
M2D Design Group and Bell Engineering, architects for the project, say the renovated square will be an open plaza space that will be a focal point and an inviting gathering place. Steps and surrounding walls will provide a variety of informal seating.
Center of the square will be a circular plaza of concrete paving and brick pavers. Memorial bricks will be located in paver bands. The square renovation is designed to be cohesive with and complement the plaza at Pulaski Court of Justice.
The statue of the late Senator and Ambassador John Sherman Cooper will be relocated to face south, toward First and Farmers National Bank. There will be space for another statue.
A simple landscape of lawn, evergreen shrubs, grasses and trees will create a low maintenance frame for the plaza. Six of the existing cherry trees will be preserved. Concrete planters will provide opportunities for seasonal color.
New stamped crosswalks will provide more safe pedestrian crossings directly to Fountain Square. A raised island with a roll curb and stamped concrete will be a pedestrian refuge at East Mt. Vernon Street. 
New striping and arrows will help direct traffic through the square. Signage will be consolidated and relocated on mast arms.