Braintree residents will have to wait a bit longer before they can use the $393,000 splash pad at Watson Park, due to a delay in ordering one of the pieces.
Town officials said that the splash pad, a type of jungle gym sprinkler system, will still be completed before summer’s end, but won’t be ready for a few weeks.
“For the most part the splash pad is almost ready to go,” said Nelson Chin, the director of recreation and community events. “It’s just establishing an opening date, which the mayor’s office is considering at this point. Right now, they are finishing up the loaming and seeding of the area, the fence has been erected, it’s already up. We’re pretty much ready to go, it will just be in the next couple of weeks.”
In January, officials were hopeful that the park could be completed by mid to early June.
Yet with the ordering delay, coupled with rain delays, the timeline has been pushed back.
The delay has been bad news for residents, who Chin said have been eager to get into the park.
“I’ve gotten calls wanting to know when the opening is, especially when we’ve had the hot and humid weather,” Chin said. “They tested the system on Monday so some may have seen the attachments flowing water. Once they saw that, and how humid it’s been, [the calls started]. People need relief.”
The positive feedback and apprehension has overshadowed initial critique of the park. Chin said he hasn’t heard a word from park opponents since an online petition was circulated hoping to cancel splash pad plans.
“The only thing I’ve been hearing is, ‘When is it opening?’,” Chin said. “I look at that as positive feedback. They are anticipating something that will be new. At this point, it’s a novelty item. We anticipate people coming and trying it out.”
The extended timeline, though bad news for hot residents, will give the town ample opportunity to check off any remaining items, including the development of rules and regulations as well as park hours.
Plans have also not yet been solidified as to the operation of the facility – whether or not it will be staffed and who will turn the filters on and off every day.
The cost of operating the facility has also not yet been determined.
According to Chin, plans have been set to make the park operate on a timer. The Water Treatment Plant staff will also monitor the chlorine levels.
Once said and done, the splash pad will become a part of the revised Watson Park, which has also received upgrades to a walking trail within the park.
Plans are still ongoing to develop the Petersen Pool and Rink, which was initially planned to go in the park space, but has since been moved to Braintree High School.