Columbia Association (CA) was proud to take part in the official opening of Bailey Park by the Lakefront. The Howard Hughes Corporation ceremoniously transferred the land to Howard County Thursday morning where a limited number of invited guests were in attendance.
“Since coming to the Columbia community, the Downtown Lakefront has become a special place for me, just as it is a special place for the residents of the Columbia community members and Howard County,” CA President/CEO Milton W. Matthews said. “As the Downtown Lakefront continues to evolve, incorporating the existing redevelopment projects and those planned for the future, the area will become a point of destination for the region. Locally, it will continue to grow in reputation as a sense of place, special and unique with a real human attachment and belonging.”
Bailey Park – named for WWII veteran Vivian C. “Millie” Bailey – will be run by the Howard County Recreation and Parks Department.
Now 102 years old, Bailey – who calls Columbia her home – rose to the ranks of first lieutenant in the Army during WWII and led her Women’s Army Corps detachment.
“I never would have imagined that I would receive such prestigious recognition. I’m happy that I’ve been able to do the things that I have done to serve, the things that I have done in the community and in the state,” Bailey said at Thursday’s event.
Just days before her namesake park was opened to the public, Bailey checked skydiving off her bucket list. The philanthropist continues to send care packages to troops overseas.
“You were my idol before that,” Matthews told Bailey, “but after that, I’m searching for new words to describe my admiration for you.”
“It is my hope that as our community enjoys this new park for many many years to come, we will always remember the spirit of service of Ms. Millie,” County Executive Calvin Ball said. Executive Ball was also among the speakers at Thursday’s event.
Columbia Association (CA) owns and maintains much of the Lakefront, as well as Haven on the Lake located right next to the new park.
“There’s a passion and care for this setting. On behalf of all of us at the Columbia Association, we welcome the addition of Bailey Park to the Downtown Lakefront,” Matthews said.
Howard County’s Veteran Foundation is working to add a “free speech” zone and a monument to the property as well, commemorating those who have served in one of the most popular areas in Downtown Columbia.
For additional photos from the event, visit the CA News blog.