Ellen White, a fundraising chairwoman for the Bailey Johnson Playground Improvement Committee, explains the new planned layout for the updated playground commemorating a 4-year-old Oak Harbor girl who died in 2002. The toddler play area will open with the re-opening of Windjammer Park in July. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times

Ellen White, a fundraising chairwoman for the Bailey Johnson Playground Improvement Committee, explains the new planned layout for the updated playground commemorating a 4-year-old Oak Harbor girl who died in 2002. The toddler play area will open with the re-opening of Windjammer Park in July. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times

Group rebuilding memorial park, with improvements

Current and former Oak Harbor community members are keeping alive a tribute to a vibrant young girl who passed away in 2002 at the age of 4.

Bailey Johnson’s family and friends came together then and created Bailey Park at Windjammer Park, but the little girl’s namesake playground had to be temporarily removed during construction of the city’s sewage treatment plant.

To take advantage of the rebuilding opportunity, the Bailey Johnson Playground Improvement Committee was formed.

The group includes Bailey Johnson’s parents, her grandmother, a staff member from the city park’s department and the entire office at Cane Engineering.

“We like this project,” said Ellen White, fundraising chairwoman for the committee and employee at Cane.

The city has set aside a plot of land in the redesigned Windjammer Park for the Bailey Johnson Playground, which like the original, will be suited for toddlers. Staff from Oak Harbor have also agreed to restore some of the original play equipment for the effort.

All the colors will be kept to align with Johnson’s color preferences, meaning a lot of purple, White said.

The committee is striving to purchase an additional play structure that resembles a schooner, new toddler swings and other various improvements. It needs $22,000 to reach its goal of $125,000 for the project.

Installation days are tentatively set for June 8 and 9, and volunteers are needed to help put on the finishing touches.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place July 3 to coincide with the reopening of Windjammer.

White wasn’t living in Oak Harbor when the original work took place in 2002, but she got involved this time around because “it seemed like a good cause.”

“My daughter spent a lot of time at this playground in preschool,” White said, looking at the empty plot where the equipment will be re-installed. “It’s a chance to sort of be a part of a community effort and make a great place for little tiny tots that don’t have a space a down in this area to play.”

Contributions to The Bailey Johnson Playground can be made at www.gofundme.com/rebuild-baileys-park. Questions about donating or volunteering can be directed to Ellen White at ellen@caneengineering.com or 360-279-0615.

Ellen White, a fundraising chairwoman for the Bailey Johnson Playground Improvement Committee, stands in front of the land that will be used for the updated playground commemorating Bailey Johnson. Photo by Laura Guido/ Whidbey News-Times

Ellen White, a fundraising chairwoman for the Bailey Johnson Playground Improvement Committee, stands in front of the land that will be used for the updated playground commemorating Bailey Johnson. Photo by Laura Guido/ Whidbey News-Times

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