Group raises $20,000 for clock rehabilitation; work to begin soon

March 29, 2019

Time will not be standing still much longer at the Somerset County Courthouse.

Commissioner Pat Terlingo announced Thursday that the first payment of $4,000 was sent to the Mount Vernon Clock Co. to restore the courthouse clocks. Construction is set to begin once the weather breaks and will be done six weeks afterward. A fund drive, which started in January, raised around $20,000 for the project. A final $2,000 push came from the Somerset County Bar Association.

He said the donations, between 50 and 75, were as small as a few dollars to several thousand.

“I can’t begin to thank the folks from Somerset County and beyond,” he said. “We received a number of donations from people who originally grew up here in Somerset.”

Terlingo said that when the job is complete, a final $4,000 will be paid to the Ohio-based company.

“We have the in-house painting of the faces of the four clocks up there,” he said. “That will be done by a company here in town.”

Along with the contract for the repair, they will need $1,200 to $1,500 for powder coating. Darr Construction, of Berlin, and the Somerset County Maintenance Department are assisting with the rehabilitation project.

Commissioner Gerald Walker said he is grateful Terlingo took the lead on the project.

“We had good people from Somerset County and from the past step up to the plate and make sure there was enough money raised to take care of the project,” Walker said.

Terlingo said the effort was a group one. He said he had to thank Pamela Tokar-Ickes, Carl Keiser, Gary Thomas, Somerset Inc., the Somerset County Chamber of Commerce, the courthouse family, Judges D. Gregory Geary, Scott Bittner and Dan Rullo, the county maintenance staff, Darr Construction, the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies and all the donors.

“If I missed anybody it was an oversight,” he said.

Attorney Jon Barkman said that as someone who grew up in Somerset, he remembers telling time by the chimes from the clock.

“When we were growing up, we didn’t need cellphones,” he said. “It rang every hour. A lot of people miss the nostalgia of the hourly ringing of the clock.”

Attorney Matt Zatko said the clock is not just a symbol of Somerset Borough, but also Somerset County.

“To not have the clock working properly is something that wasn’t going to be acceptable,” he said.

Terlingo said remaining money will be used for a 10-year service maintenance contract with Mount Vernon to keep the clocks running.

The group is still accepting donations through Saturday. To donate to the Somerset County Courthouse clock project, send donations to: Community Foundation for the Alleghenies, P.O. Box 1105, Somerset, PA 15501. Checks should be made to the foundation.