Zahra playground to open May 19

Play will begin May 19 at the Zahra Baker All Children's Playground at Kiwanis Park in Hickory.

That's the day the playground will be dedicated in Zahra's memory and officially open to the public.

City of Hickory workers are now putting their finishing touches on the playground, following a three-day community event last week that saw several hundred volunteers construct the facility's equipment.

"It is amazing what the 271 volunteers, plus the city workers, were able to do in the three days of the community build," said Mack McLeod, director of the Hickory Parks and Recreation Department. "The attitude of the volunteers, over the three days, was great. It made the whole event enjoyable. They came with smiles on their faces and ready to work."
Landscaping, the pouring of a soft surface underneath the playground and adjustments to a 50-foot slide are now being completed.

The public is invited to a ribbon-cutting ceremony beginning at 11 a.m. May 19.

Members of the Kiwanis Club of Catawba County will serve hot dogs, hamburgers and popped kettle corn. The event will also include a variety of activities and entertainment.

"The time has now come to get the playground open for the children to enjoy it," said Steve Aaron, a Western Catawba County Kiwanis Club member and a co-chairman of the Zahra Baker All Children's Playground Campaign, "This facility is the first public playground in this area that allows all children to be able to play together."