Public spaces bring people together, and it’s good to see that the Howard Hughes Corporation is including many new unique public spaces among all the new buildings sprouting up with the redevelopment of downtown Columbia MD. This past weekend, I was admiring the progress being made at the future Vivian C. (Millie) Bailey Park, which will be next to Whole Foods right along the Lakefront.
The park will incorporate three elements: a Veterans Monument; a playground; and a pergola which will serve as a community gathering place and “free speech” zone. The park will also provide ADA access to the lake along a switchback boardwalk set amongst gardens. The Howard County Veterans Foundation is on its way to raising funds for the $1.2 million dollar monument, though I have not been able to come across any renderings of what it will look it.
The park is named after the 101 year-old Howard County resident Millie Bailey who was a veteran of World War IIand is being recognized for her military service and lifelong commitment to public service. She attended the groundbreaking for the park this past June.
As of January, the pergola appears to be close to complete, and land is currently being graded for the rest of the park. While I have not seen an official estimate of completion, I would guess (and hope) that the park will be ready for public enjoyment this summer. While it may be hard during the midst of this cold 20-degree winter weather, I look forward to letting my kids climb on the new playground while our family attends the free movies and concerts put on by the Columbia Association as part of their Lakefront Summer Festivals in just five months time.