Even in a spring where seemingly nothing is normal, at there’s one thing here in Somerset that people can count upon.
The fountain is back on.
The towering spray of water that adorns the Fountain Square as the aesthetic jewel of downtown Somerset sprung to life anew this week, and just in time. After rainy weather made for a dull and dreary Tuesday, with many cooped up in their homes to avoid that dastardly coronavirus, much more beautiful skies graced this fair county on Wednesday. With many out walking to get some fresh air and exercise, it seemed a perfect time to return the picturesque geyser
Moreover, for Dan Price, Deputy Judge-Executive of Pulaski County, the fountain represents something positive in troubling times.
“We usually try to get it on prior to the middle school and high school proms, usually around the first of April,” said Price. “I was just like, if we can just do something to put some hope out there ... let’s just try to get that fountain going.”
Price noted how students are being deprived of these significant rites of passage due to the governor’s orders to close schools, opportunities for them to get dressed up and take special keepsake photos in front of the fountain as so many youth do every year.
“We were just talking last week, how everyone was always excited because we had eighth-grade formals and proms and all the students are excited about wanting to come down and get their pictures taken,” he said. “My heart goes out to them.”
Of course, efforts have been ongoing to keep people out of the fountain itself, and Price said that the fence installed has “really worked ... It’s been surprisingly effective.” He said that 24-hour surveillance of the fountain is still maintained.
But there are still likely to be people around the fountain as the warm weather brings out walkers, runners, parents and children. Price said that “we need to continue with CDC guidelines” has far as keeping a distance from one another as well as cleaning and sanitizing.
To that end, the fountain has a “higher concentration” of chlorine in it, said Price.
“It’s a derivative of the same chemical they recommend for cleaning surfaces, things like that,” he noted.
Even in the age of the coronavirus, the fountain is still on, people are still out and about downtown, and the world continues to turn. Price is optimistic about things eventually returning to normal.
“I just want everybody to know we’re working together in all this,” said Price. “... It will be a challenge for us, but we can get through it, working together.”