• Playground to honor, remember Zahra Baker complete


    HICKORY, N.C. - Volunteers have finished building a playground in honor of  Zahra Baker.

    Zahra's stepmother killed her and dismembered her body about a year and a half ago.

    Thursday, volunteers unloaded all the playground equipment, and Friday, the entire community came ready to build.  The playground was declared complete Saturday. 

    Nearly 200 people joined the community build on 6th Street southeast in Hickory.


    “It's going to be a place for all children to come and be together, in memory of Zahra,” volunteer Mary Smith said.

    Smith is one of 200 volunteers who took part in the three-day community build on 6th Street Southeast in Hickory. The mother of two said she thinks often of Zahra, whose story rocked the small community.

    “I think it's a very good thing for everybody to come out and volunteer in memory of Zahra, to make a positive out of something negative that happened here in our community,” Smith said. “It's going to be a positive income with the playground.”

    The community partnered with the Kiwanis Club to build the playground, which has been a year in the making.

    It includes a slide, an interactive feature section, a sand area and swings. Because Zahra was disabled, the playground was made so all children can play.

    “The whole community came together to make this what it is today, and as you look over my shoulder in the background here, you can see what the community is doing today,” volunteer Bill Wiggs said.

    The community raised a total of $200,000 to make the playground a reality.

    It will be a place for all children to enjoy and a spot for the community to always remember Zahra.

    “Building the playground, it's just a way to keep her memory alive and show her that people did care about her,” Jamie Brown said.

    The park will not officially open until the dedication in May.

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