GUSTINE - The City Council last week selected a design for the new playground complex planned for Schmidt Park.

Council members had asked at a prior meeting that a traditional swing set be incorporated into the playground features, and last week gave their blessing to a design that did just that.

In addition to selecting a playground design with a covered swing set, the council also decided on finishing touches such as the playground fall surface - opting for an engineered wood fiber material over more costly rubber tile or poured-in-place rubber coverings.

A per-capita allocation of $178,000 from Proposition 68 funds will cover the cost. GameTime, the provider of the selected playground structures is also providing a nearly $33,000 grant to help cover the costs of the project.

The cost of the selected design (including installation) and fall surface came in at just under $169,000 (after the grant was factored in), leaving the city with about $9,000 in contingency funds to help cover any unexpected expenses.

The projected overall cost includes an estimated $22,000 for the engineered wood fiber fall surface.

Jami Westervelt, the city’s economic and community development director, said the new playground area will offer a variety of features - from the traditional swings to an interactive “merry musical.”

Slides, a climbing wall, spring riders and an arch swing accessible to children of limited mobility will be among the playground features.

“We tried to incorporate lots of different types of play within the budget that we had,” Westervelt commented. “We tried to get lots of different motions and different types of activities. We tried to incorporate something for the smaller kids as well. I am pleased that we are able to get this much with the funding that we were provided. I think the community is going to be very happy.”

The playground location will be a benefit as well, Westervelt anticipates, due to its more centralized location within the park and proximity to the ball fields.

“This is an area that is not as large (as the existing playground), but there is so much more for kids to do in a smaller footprint. I think it will provide them many more hours of fun,” she remarked.

Westervelt said the equipment will be ordered by the end of the month. Fabrication of the play structures should be done by early in the year and, weather permitting, the new playground will be ready to put to use by the time spring rolls around.

The cost estimate does not include removal of the existing playground area.

Officials are debating possible uses for that area. One proposal is converting the area to a sand volleyball court.