When kids’ favorite places are closed, some might sulk and complain. But when 11-year-old Mary Ellis Stevens discovered the First Ward Park sprayground wasn’t running on a hot Charlotte day, she picked up her ukelele instead.
“This STINKS!” Mary Ellis says, pouting at the ground, at the beginning of a video posted to YouTube Saturday.
“What’s up?” her father asks.
“There’s no water in the sprayground and I’m not allowed to swim in the fountain!” she laments to the camera, clutching her head in despair. Then she composes herself and launches into a modified version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
“Somewhere, deep in Charlotte, in First Ward Park, there’s a beautiful fountain that lights up when it gets dark,” she sings.
Mary Ellis strums the cheerful tune while pleading with the county to bring the water back, because otherwise there’s nothing to do but “sweat, and sweat and sweat.”
Mecklenburg County Park Superintendent Peter Cook said the sprayground will be running again July 8, after about a month of repairing damage to its pressure valves due to problems with the initial construction.
He said the fountain is for decoration only, but recommends that anyone looking for a place to cool off check out the spraygrounds in the nearby Cordelia Park, the West Charlotte Recreation Center, or any of the others listed on the county website.
Natalie Stevens, Mary Ellis’ mother, said Mary Ellis is always making music. She also plays the violin and will play with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra’s Junior Youth Orchestra in the fall.
“She also just writes her own stuff and walks around the house singing 24/7,” Stevens said. “Keeping up with her is a lot, but it’s fun.”