Groundbreaking for Zahra’s Playground in Hickory | Community Spirit
HICKORY, NC (WBTV) – More than a hundred people braved rainy and muddy conditions to break ground in Hickory for a playground at Kiwanis park to be named after Zahra Baker, the ten year old who was murdered in 2010, and her remains scattered across Caldwell County.
The playground was a project of the City of Hickory and local Kiwanis Clubs. 170 thousand dollars were raised, almost twice what the original goal was. “And we have the possibility of raising another 25 or 30 thousand dollars,” said Steve Aarons of Kiwanis.
The playground is special, said officials, designed to be accessible by all children no matter what handicap they may have. It will be one of the largest such playgrounds in North Carolina and for that reason officials are calling it a “destination playground.”
Tents were erected and a large picnic shelter was used for the groundbreaking ceremonies. Rain fell for most of the start of the ceremonies but as the shovels started turning the ground in the ceremonial start of construction, the sun broke through briefly with blue sky around it. “That’s Zahra Baker shining down on us said one woman.”
Grading work will being in a few weeks. The basic infrastructure will be put in place during the winter and next spring, said Mayor Rudy Wright, a community work day will be called where anyone who wants to help in erecting the playground structure itself can come and help. “We could have a thousand people here, and that’s okay with us, “said Wright.
Adam Baker, Zahra’s father, was not at the groundbreaking. His attorney mark Killian said Adam did not want to be a distraction on this special day. Adam was not charged in the Zahra case and investigators said there is no evidence he was involved.
Still, Adam has told WBTV News, people blame him and say things when they see him. Adam, who is from Australia, is still in the United States awaiting trial on several misdemeanor charges in Caldwell County and two felonies in Catawba County.
Elisa Baker, who pled guilty to second degree murder and sentenced to 18 years in prison for the death of Zahra Baker, is awaiting trial on federal drug charges.
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