CA Welcomes Bailey Park to Columbia Lakefront

October 22, 2020

Bailey Park is Officially Open!

Bailey Park ribbon cutting

WWII veteran and philanthropist Millie Bailey, CA President/CEO Milton W. Matthews and others smile for the cameras.

Columbia Association (CA) is honored to welcome Bailey Park to the Columbia Lakefront, another place for the community to play and grow.


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.


A limited number of guests got to take part in the special event. CA President/CEO Milton W. Matthews and WWII veteran Vivian C. “Millie” Bailey were among those invited to speak.

Ribbon cutting at Bailey Park

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball officially cuts the ribbon on Bailey Park, cheered on by Millie Bailey, CA’s Milton W. Matthews and many others 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,” 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.”

Milton W. Matthews, Columbia Association President/CEO


Click here to learn more about the Downtown Columbia Plan.


Bailey Park – named for WWII veteran Vivian C. “Millie” Bailey – will be run by the Howard County Recreation and Parks Department. CA owns and maintains much of the Lakefront.

Kids at Bailey Park

Kids already enjoying the play area watch the ceremony, commemorating Bailey Park.

Ms. Millie’s life and ongoing legacy

Now 102 years old, Vivian C. “Millie” 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.

Milton W. Matthews speaks at Bailey Park

CA President/CEO Milton W. Matthews speaks ahead of Bailey Park ribbon cutting.

“You were my idol before that,” Matthews told Bailey, “but after that, I’m searching for new words to describe my admiration for you.”

Milton stands in front of Millie Bailey

CA President/CEO Milton W. Matthews stands in front of the crowd, including the park’s namesake, Ms. Millie Bailey.

“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.


“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.

Bailey Park sign

Vivian C. “Millie” Bailey Park will also be home to a veterans monument.

In addition to the park, Howard County’s Veteran Foundation is working to add a “free speech” zone and a monument to the property, commemorating those who have served in one of the most popular areas in Downtown Columbia.​​​​​

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