Engineers concerned about concrete base’s ability to support larger fountain
An independent group of engineers is currently doing a study of the base for the new fountain on Fountain Square to make sure the foundation is sufficiently solid to support the magnificent water display.
Tiffany Bourne, community development director for Pulaski County, said American Engineers will determine if the concrete base and ground below will support the structure and inhibit cracking in the future. She indicated the study will not delay the renovation project scheduled for completion in mid-summer.
Russell Sitter, designer of the fountain, said he doesn’t know exactly how much the two-tier fountain will weigh. It will be large. The main pool with an inner-raised pool will be 32 feet in diameter.
Water will overflow from the inter-raised pool into the lower pool. A dozen streams of water will jut 10 feet in the air and three additional streams will extend the display to 17 feet, he said.
Construction on the water display is already under way. Sitter said piping and electrical power to the fountain are being installed underground.
“The public likely will see water flowing in the fountain by June,” Sitter noted.
Renovation of Fountain Square is being done with an $800,000 Transportation Enhancement Grant and $200,000 in-kind contribution by Pulaski County government.
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, rumored but not confirmed to be that of Congressman Hal Rogers. Cooper’s statue is in storage during the renovation project.
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.