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Transformation of South Los Angeles Park Offers Hope to the Community
Earvin "Magic" Johnson Park is one of the largest parks in South Los Angeles and is an oasis in a region lacking green spaces. The park is located in the unincorporated community of Willowbrook and is operated by the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR).
The park has just been transformed and upgraded with $70 million worth of improvements, including a "20,000-square foot event center to host conferences and other large gatherings, a dedicated outdoor wedding pavilion, a splash pad, children’s play areas, and a completely redesigned southern lake which has a half-mile walking trail, enhanced lighting, fitness equipment and other amenities," reports the Los Angeles Sentinel. "The park also has an innovative water system to address water conservation goals and improve water quality. Under the new system, water will be diverted from nearby Compton Creek, cleaned, and then used to fill the lower lake and irrigate the park—creating a wetland experience for park-goers." Overall, 30 acres of the 120-acre park have been improved.
At a sneak peek event on October 3, 2020, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said, “What you see before you represents the dreams and vision of many members of this community... Now more than ever, our communities deserve investments in our public spaces to make them centers for gathering, learning and respite."
Last month, DPR initiated the second phase of improvements which will cost about $10 million. The 16 acres, formerly known as the Ujima Village site, will be improved with a large outdoor open space, amphitheater, play mounds, a native butterfly garden, a fitness loop/walking path and off-leash dog park. These improvements are anticipated to be completed in 2021.