A Somerset City Council work session at 5:30 p.m. Monday will unveil to councilors what Mayor Eddie Girdler calls the “final preliminary design” of the city’s planned energy hub. The work session, including video presentations, will be at The Center for Rural Development and the public is invited.
Somerset has been approved for an $8.5 million loan through the United States Department of Agriculture’s Community Facilities Program to develop and construct a modernistic energy hub. The computerized energy center, first of its kind in Kentucky, will monitor the city’s vast natural gas pipeline network. The structure also will include a new city hall.
Girdler said there have been some changes in a previously published architect’s rendering of the modernistic building “ ... to integrate it with the master plan for downtown.” New architect’s sketches and photographs will be released during Monday’s work session, the mayor said.
The energy hub will be located at the corner of East Mt. Vernon and College streets on what is now a city parking lot. The area will be expanded by demolition of the former Meece Hardware building on the west side of the parking lot; the former city utilities building on the west side of College Street north of the parking lot; and the current city utilities building on the east side of College Street just north of Somerset City Hall. New city offices will be in the energy center building and the existing city hall facing East Mt. Vernon Street will be torn down to make way for a parking area.
Girdler has previously used “modernistic” to describe the exterior of the three-story energy hub. “There will be lots of circular glass ... plenty of open space,” he noted.,
The center will be energy self-sufficient with an adjacent natural-gas powered generating station that will provide more than enough electricity to operate the facility. Excess electricity produced by the generator will be put in Kentucky Utilities’ electrical grid in a trade-off deal with the city, Girdler said.