Petersen Splash Pad this summer, and with that comes a look ahead to the future of what has become an extremely popular Watson Park play area.Labor Day weekend marks the final days of the
One aspect that will be examined for next year are the hours of operation, which this weekend, from Friday, Aug. 30 through Monday, Sept. 2, will be reduced by three hours from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. to 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. because of staffing difficulties.
Chief among the issues that Mayor Joseph Sullivan said he and other officials are considering is parking and its impact on the neighborhood. At times this month, residents – many from out of town – have lined up along Gordon Road to access the pad.
"It's been a tremendous success," Sullivan said.
But parking has been a headache for neighbors, one that could grow more intense next year when the pad is open during Little League season.
Officials have encouraged visitors to park at Smith Beach and walk a short path to Watson Park. Improved signage or other remedies may be implemented to alleviate the congestion.
Opening another splash pad elsewhere in Braintree could also help, Sullivan said. He said he has looked at several potential sites, eliminated some – such as French's Common and Sunset Lake – and is still considering others, like the town-owned property in the Highlands that formerly held Norfolk County Hospital.
"Playground use in East Braintree has skyrocketed," Sullivan said.
Many of this month's visitors have not been from Braintree, Recreation Director Nelson Chin said. Media coverage of its opening in late July prompted many to drive from elsewhere in the region for free water play at the pad built in memory of Braintree tugboat Capt. August Julius Petersen.
The town could encourage more Braintree use by instituting a policy limiting access to residents and their guests, Sullivan said, or perhaps the town could hold Braintree-only days next summer.
What changes, if any, would you like to see made at the Petersen Splash Pad next year? Tell us in the comments below.