ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

The "tired" playground in Allentown's Jordan Park will have to make it through one more summer.

And swimmers at Jordan and the city's other three pools may face some price increases this summer.

Both issues came up at Wednesday night's City Council meeting, although there was no discussion about proposed rate changes for the 2014 swimming season. Council will review and act on those changes in the coming weeks.

A new playground will be erected in Jordan Park, but not until June 2015, predicted John Mikowychok, the city's parks and recreation director.

He said the park's existing playground was built in 1995 and is "really showing its wear. It's a tired playground.

"It gets pounded, it gets used very heavily during the summer .It has seen its share of use and children enjoying it. There's nothing wrong with that."

Mikowychok said the playground is still functional, although a couple of cracked slides can't be replaced. He later explained one of those plastic slides is blocked off and can't be used.

He told council the community will be involved in the project because there is less vandalism when people take more ownership of a playground.

The project will cost about $116,000.

The city is applying for a grant from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to provide half that total cost.

City Council unanimously approved applying for that grant.

"DCNR has indicated that this is going to receive priority funding,"
said the parks director. "We have full confidence they are going to fund this project, along with several others."

He said DCNR also plans to replace playgrounds in five other Pennsylvania cities-Bethlehem, Philadelphia, State College, Pittsburgh and Erie.

Mikowychok said the other $58,000 will come from city and/or Trexler Trust funds.

He estimated the actual play structure will cost $75,000-$85,000.

Mikowychok said the city has been working with DCNR and Kaboom, a national playground advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., which helps communities design and build playgrounds.

He explained Kaboom has access to three-D computer modeling so people will be able to see what the new playground will look like before it is built.

He indicated plans will be shared with the Jordan Park community next February.

City resident Paulette Hunter immediately volunteered to participate in the playground planning. She wants to ensure it includes play equipment that can be used by handicapped children.

The parks director said the city does not yet have a particular model in mind for the new play structure, explaining that will be part of the design planning process. He said the units are available with elevated decks and attachments.

"The community will pick which components they prefer," he said.

The playground structure probably will be erected on a Saturday in June 2015, with the help of neighbors.

The parks director said students from the Lehigh Career & Technical Institute will help with construction, such as masonry work that will have to be done before the playground unit is erected.

"All this stuff has to be anchored to a good footing," said Mikoywchok. "The concrete will be poured earlier that week."

He said the renovation also will include walkways around three sides of the playground, trees, signs, benches, trash receptacle and designated handicapped parking next to the playground.