The Lindsey Baum memorial garden at Beerbower Park in McCleary will be dedicated at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 26, 10 years to the day the 10-year-old girl disappeared.
The dedication will begin with a short prayer. Lindsey’s mother, Melissa Baum, will speak, and local singer-songwriter Ericka Corban will perform.
A plaque was placed in the garden Wednesday. With a picture of Lindsey, it reads: “Like flowers in a garden, bloomed a beautiful child, as peaceful and loving as one could ever find. Echoes of her laughter will always harvest a smile, while her zest for life grows in our hearts for all of time.”
A group of volunteers who met during a search for Lindsey in August 2009 stayed in touch over the years and have spearheaded the effort to build a lasting memorial to the girl, whose partial remains were found in a rugged area of Kittitas County in October 2017.
Michelle Ames was one of those volunteers who have met every few months since the day of the search and have led the way for the June 26 dedication.
“I lived in McCleary when Lindsey went missing and when they did their first volunteer open search in August, I volunteered,” said Ames. “From then on I’ve just kind of continued anytime something has come up.”
The memorial garden is located near the play area at Beerbower Park, very near the home Lindsey shared with her mother, Melissa, and brother, Josh, at the time of her disappearance.
The centerpiece of the garden will be a bench in the shape of a butterfly, four feet by five feet in size. An anonymous donor paid for the bench which was shipped from the East Coast. Installation will occur just days before the dedication, said Ames.
“The whole idea with the bench is we wanted a place where people could sit and just think, and our biggest goal was for it to be an interactive place for families to sit with their kids,” said Ames. “It could spark some interest in having some difficult but important conversations with your kids, just reminding them to watch out for themselves and friends to make sure things like this don’t happen again.”
The memorial garden took the hard work of volunteers and the cooperation of numerous area businesses and the City of McCleary.
“More than anything it’s the volunteers that have come forward and offered free labor,” said Ames.
Contributors to the memorial garden include:
Landscape architect Gerald Mertl of Cosmopolis. Mertl created the plans for the memorial garden and managed the landscaping. He also donated the new tree to go with Lindsey’s memorial tree planted on her birthday last year; the birthday tree is behind the soon-to-be-installed bench, the new tree in front. Mertl also installed the pavers which surround the cement around where the bench will be placed.
Josh Foster and the crew from Foster Brothers Inc. of Montesano. Foster broke ground on the new memorial and he and his construction team laid the cement for the sidewalk. Foster will also place the bench.
The nonprofit organization Raise for Rowyn of Tenino. The group lined up Dreamscapes Landscapes for the tree removal needed for the garden and also paid for the plaque.
Cody Morris and the crew from Dreamscapes Landscapes and Design LLC of Olympia removed a tree to prevent any damage which could have come from a falling branch and to protect Lindsey’s memorial trees.
Paul Ladue of Ladue Fencing Inc. of Elma installed the extension of the fence so the new sidewalk could be installed.
Bayview Concrete of Elma lowered the purchase cost of cement to fit within the garden’s budget.
Puget Sound Plants of Olympia lowered the pricing of planting materials and plants to fit within the garden’s budget.
The dedication will include a candlelight vigil, with candles available at the park in limited supply. There will also be a limited number of Justice for Lindsey T-shirts given out, along with other awareness items. The memorial garden is on the west side of the park on North Summit Road between Simpson Avenue and Veterans Way.