If you’re interested in what’s going on in the heart of downtown Somerset but can’t be there in person, the Somerset-Pulaski Economic Development Authority’s latest project gives you a top view from the internet.
SPEDA recently hired Modern Systems to install a camera on top of the Hemisphere Limited (formerly First & Farmers National Bank) building that broadcasts a live stream from Fountain Square 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Viewers can see the Palace of Pulaski County Historic Justice, the Community Fountain (consecrated in 2013), the statue of Senator John Sherman Cooper and a number of downtown stores and offices.
The idea was born out of a desire to give residents and visitors a glimpse of what’s going on at the community center, said Chris Girdler, President and CEO of SPEDA.
âFontaine Square is the heart of this community,â said Girdler. âOur downtown area is experiencing a renaissance, a real 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 the Somernites Cruise and festivals if they can’t join us in person.
Girdler said SPEDA will soon introduce a second live camera with a view of Lake Cumberland.
The downtown live camera includes a community safety component. The camera is part of the Somerset Police Shepherds Watch program, a tool that integrates CCTV technology and the power of community involvement to deter crime and accelerate its resolution when it occurs.
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 reaches more than 150 residents and companies voluntarily registered 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.
âThe beauty of the Shepherds Watch program is its ability to build a community while protecting it, a mission that SPEDA wholeheartedly supports,â said Girdler. âWhile giving people a unique view of our downtown core, we are also able to help keep the community safe, and that’s a win-win. “
Somerset Police Chief William Hunt said he was grateful for SPEDA’s partnership.
âWe really appreciate that SPEDA allows us to be part of this initiative,â he said. âVideo surveillance within our city has helped us solve many crimes in the past and is a powerful tool in deterring them. “