Playworld’ Inclusive Play Equipment Selected for Playground Honoring Memory of North Carolina Girl
Community-Driven Playground Offers Welcoming Play Space for People of All Ages and Abilities
LEWISBURG, PA (May 21, 2012) – Playworld, a leading manufacturer of imaginative playground and fitness equipment, today announced its equipment was recognized at the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday, May 19 for the Zahra Baker All-Children's Playground, at Kiwanis Park, located at 805 6th Street, SE in Hickory, North Carolina. The playground was made possible through the generosity of citizens, businesses, civic groups, schools, neighborhoods, and foundations in the community. The campaign was led by two Kiwanis Clubs in the community, along with Hickory Mayor Rudy Wright. The playground is in the memory of Zahra Clare Baker, a local 10-year-old cancer survivor who was murdered in 2010.
"Zahra's tragic story devastated our community as well as people throughout the nation and Australia (her native home), and we believe she deserves to be honored in the most inspirational and lasting way possible," said Mayor Wright. "The community embraced this project by raising money and building the playground. During the installation process, we had to limit our volunteer list to 350 people working in shifts. We were delighted with the outpouring of support for this playground. It's truly a testament to the affection the community has for Zahra."
In addition to exceeding the number of volunteers needed, the community also surpassed its monetary goal. Fundraising campaigns from community organizations totaled more than $200,000, more than double the original goal of $85,000. As a result of receiving this additional financial support, the community was also able to purchase extra playground equipment, providing more inclusive play spaces for children in the community.
Playworld Preferred, a Playworld distributor serving communities in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Illinois, provided the new playground equipment. The Hickory Parks and Recreation department coordinated the community playground build.
In honor of Zahra Baker, who wore a prosthetic leg and hearing aids due to disabilities caused by cancer, the new playground was designed and built with children with disabilities in mind.
Playworld is committed to developing products and equipment that encourage all people, regardless of age or ability, to play together. The Zahra Baker All-Children's Playground at Kiwanis Park includes inclusive play products and multiple ground-level activities for all children to enjoy. The inclusive playground offers wheelchair-accessible ramps and rides, and incorporates thrilling motion and spinning activities. For example, the park includes AeroGlider, the industry's most inclusive motion play product. AeroGlider brings the fun of the amusement park to the playground and is designed for use by kids and adults of all ages and abilities. Additionally, the inclusive play space includes Playworld' new Spinami, a 360-degree spinning apparatus that holds up to two people and helps improve balance, muscle control and gross motor skills.
"It's very rewarding to see the positive impact our equipment can have on a community that has experienced indescribable tragedy," said Matthew Miller, chief executive officer of Playworld. "In the midst of such anguish, we are privileged to help establish this uplifting place that brings the joy of play to everyone and excludes no one."
Playworld offers a free resource, the Inclusive Play Design Guide, to other communities looking to build an inclusive playground.
About Playworld, Inc.
For over 40 years, Playworld has been a leader in creating imaginative, customized commercial playground and fitness equipment that positively impacts the health and well-being of communities around the globe. Based on the belief that The World Needs Play®, Playworld brings the joy and benefits of healthful outdoor play and exercise to people of every age and ability through such innovative product lines as PlayDesigns®, PlaySimple®, Playworld®, Origins™, NEOS®, ENERGI®, and LifeTrail®.
Playworld' products are made in the U.S.A. in its Lewisburg, Pa. manufacturing facility using domestic and foreign content, with a small number of parts purchased from trusted international suppliers. This multi-generational, family-owned company continues to invest significant resources to measurably reduce its impact on the environment. Its aggressive action to eliminate polyvinyl chloride (PVC) has helped Playworld become the first and only playground manufacturer to have its products Cradle to Cradle CertifiedCM Basic. The company offers an optimal customer experience unique in the industry – from value-added services using Microsoft Tag to personalized attention through its vast network of local distributors.
Playworld has received numerous awards throughout its history, including two International Industrial Design Excellence Awards, a gold medal from International Design magazine, two News Directors' Choice Awards on Early Childhood, and the Pennsylvania Governors' Award for Safety Excellence. In 2012, Playworld received an Evergreen Award in the sports and recreation category from the GSA Integrated Workplace Acquisition Center. For more information about Playworld, visit PlayworldSystems.com.