If you’re interested in what’s happening in the heart of downtown Somerset but you can’t be there in person, the Somerset-Pulaski Economic Development Authority’s newest project gives you a front-row view from the internet.
SPEDA recently engaged Modern Systems to install a camera at the top of the Hemisphere Limited building (formerly First & Farmers National Bank) that broadcasts a live feed of Fountain Square 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Viewers can see Pulaski County’s historic county courthouse, the community’s fountain (dedicated in 2013), the statue of Sen. John Sherman Cooper, and a number of downtown shops and offices.
The idea was born from the desire to give residents and visitors a glimpse of what is happening at the community’s center, SPEDA President and CEO Chris Girdler said.
“Fountain Square is the heart of this community,” Girdler said. “Our downtown is experiencing a renaissance, a true revitalization with the addition of restaurants, murals, shops and nightlife. We want everyone to see how beautiful our bustling downtown is, and give them a way to experience special events like Somernites Cruise and festivals if they’re not able to join us in person.”
Girdler said SPEDA will soon introduce a second live cam with a view of Lake Cumberland.
The downtown live cam includes a community safety component. The camera is enrolled in the Somerset Police Shepherds Watch program, a tool that embraces video surveillance technology and the power of community participation to deter crime and accelerate solving it when it happens.
By encouraging businesses and residents to share the location of their security cameras with Somerset Police, Shepherds Watch has had a significant impact on crime prevention in Somerset and Pulaski County.
SPEDA joins more than 150 residents and businesses voluntarily enrolled in this program. The Shepherds Watch network helps police quickly identify the location of security cameras in an area where a crime has occurred, helping them solve crimes faster.
“The beauty of the Shepherds Watch program lies in its ability to build community while protecting it, a mission that SPEDA wholeheartedly supports,” Girdler said. “While giving people a unique view of our downtown, we’re also able to help keep the community safe, and that’s a win-win.”
Somerset Police Chief William Hunt said he is grateful for SPEDA’s partnership.
“We truly appreciate SPEDA allowing us to be a part of this initiative,” he said. “Video surveillance within our city has helped us solve multiple crimes in the past and is a powerful tool for deterring it.”