• Tree house being built at Zahra Baker playground


    HICKORY, N.C. - Construction of a wheelchair accessible tree house was underway Thursday at the Zahra Baker All Children's Playground in Hickory.

    The playground is named after 10-year-old Zahra Baker, who was killed by her stepmother.

    Hickory Mayor Rudy Wright has been working with developers to make the park accessible to children of all abilities.

    Zahra had a prosthetic leg and hearing aids after surviving bone cancer. Her stepmother, Elisa Baker, pleaded guilty to murder but claimed that Zahra died in 2010 after an illness.

    "The kids are all excited. There are several bus loads that come up here every day and they say, ‘What are you building?’ and I say, ‘Tree house’ and they just go crazy," said Roy Hamby, a construction worker on the project.

    Workers hope to have the tree house completed by the end of the month. The mayor said several businesses are helping with fundraising and volunteering to build it.

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