Fifty years after Capt. August Julius Petersen left $65,000 in his will for Braintree to build a pool at Watson Park, the town celebrated on Sunday the opening of the Petersen Splash Pad, a mini water park with mist sprays, water fountains, spray guns and other fun features.
Local kids charged through the pad's fence opening immediately after a ribbon-cutting with town officials, including Mayor Joseph Sullivan, Councilor Tom Bowes, Councilor Leland Dingee and others.
Petersen's fund grew to $2 million over the decades as officials tried in vain to place a pool at Watson Park. In 2010, Sullivan pitched a plan to put the pad at Watson, and build a pool and ice rink and turf fields at Braintree High School. The turf fields have been constructed and negotiations are ongoing over the athletic complex.
The 4,000-square-foot splash pad, Sullivan said, is the "better plan" for Watson Park.
"Today we accept [Petersen's] gift with gratitude and appreciation," Sullivan said.
Sullivan also commended Recreation Director Nelson Chin, Councilor Henry Joyce and DPW Director Thomas Whalen for their work on the project.
The pad is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Memorial Day through Labor Day. A surveillance camera sits on a pole above the shed holding the water filtration system, and will be monitored by Braintree police.