Avery Massey hopped from rock to rock among the pebbles,
pavers and bricks at the rainwater-harvesting fountain in Wrightsville Beach.
The 7-year-old was among dozens of community members, Harbor
Island Garden Club members and public officials on Thursday who celebrated the
interactive children’s water feature during the dedication ceremony.
The children, who the fountain was created for, came out to
play in the gallons of rainwater spouting up from underneath the ground.
Avery said her favorite part about the fountain is the
“She’s been coming here since she was very little,” Lisa
Massey, Avery’s mother, said about Harbor Way Gardens.
Avery’s grandparents, Judy and Mark Massey, live near the
gardens and bought a paver in her name.
Maleesa Rickards, 4, begs her parents to go to the fountain
every time they head to Wrightsville Beach from Wilmington.
Her father, Josh Rickards of Creative Cascades, was the
designer of the children’s interactive water feature.
Rickards said the idea stemmed from the small fountain on
his home patio.
“We just kind of took that and made it huge,” he said. “It’s
pretty much just a small pool that sits underneath it.”
At the dedication, guests were able to taste five dessert
and five appetizer recipes from the Harbor Island Celebrates cookbook, sold to
raise money for the fountain.
During her speech, club president Alison Long thanked a long
list of people who supported the fountain project in any way.
“This has been a huge undertaking and all of you have been
right by my side,” Long said to her fellow club members. “There’s not another
feature like it, and I’m just excited we paved the way for that.”
The chemical-free feature can store 3,500 gallons of water,
and will collect more than 30,000 gallons of rainwater each year.
Cindy Jupp, publicity and community relations for the club,
said the time between when the fountain was completed in early July and the
dedication allowed club members to finish landscaping and planting and to also
think about future ideas for the area.
“It’s been good to have that time to get it up and running
and ready,” she said.
The fountain also served as a place for Jim Long’s family to
honor the longtime town resident who died last year after battling cancer.
“This was a great place to recognize and memorialize him,”
said Tracy Long Willis, Long’s daughter. “We wanted a fun place to remember
She bought 14 pavers, which all read ‘with love, hope and
faith,’ in Long’s memory.
Willis’ two sons, Tanner and Collin, took turns running
through and standing over the main spout located next to where the pavers will
stay for years to come.