Lead Story West Edition

Second phase of renovations approved at Magic Johnson Park

WILLOWBROOK — The county Board of Supervisors voted last week to move forward with the next phase of the Magic Johnson Park revitalization project that will bring much needed improvements to the 126-acre park.

“Our next phase of improvements will focus on outdoor amenities that create inviting gathering space for a host of activities … ranging from a dog park to a place for a community concert,” county Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said. “At Magic Johnson Park, our goal is to make sure there is an amenity for everyone.”

The project will improve existing amenities and add an array of new facilities including a community events center, an amphitheater, a splash pad and acres of new landscape.

“For almost 25 years, the Magic Johnson Park has been used for daily exercise, family outings, and celebrations,” Earvin “Magic” Johnson said in a press release. “I’m excited about this significant investment by Los Angeles County which provides a safe, scenic space for Willowbrook residents and increases the community’s engagement with the park.”

Due to financial and environmental constraints, the project will be completed in six phases. Currently at its second phase, the focus will be to invest $7 million into a dog park as well as to incorporate 16 acres of vacant land adjacent to the park that have been abandoned since 2013.

Since its approval in 2016, the project’s master plan has gone through some changes. Major changes consist of new cultural components, retention of the south lake, removal of the equestrian center and implementation of a stormwater treatment water system.

According to a press release from Ridley-Thomas’ office, the lake is an important feature of the park that will help address water conservation and water quality goals. The stormwater treatment water system will divert storm runoff from surrounding neighborhoods and nearby Compton Creek, clean it, and then use it to refill the lower part of the lake as well as irrigate part of the park.

The park has not seen any significant improvements since 1985. It is estimated that the renovations to the park will last up to 18 years and cost about $135 million.

“The renovations in of itself is a good thing,” park goer and Willowbrook resident Tony Muhammad said. However, he did raise the concern about the lack of African-American workers on the project. He believes that the workers of projects in the community should reflect the make-up of the community.

The park will remain open to the public during construction, although some spaces may be limited.