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 redevelopment of the park is being guided by a Master Plan first adopted in 2016 and has since been modified twice.
The first phase of the Master Plan is being implemented, with the transformation of a 37-acre area in the lower section of the park just completed. As reported by Steven Sharp, Los Angeles County worked with landscape architecture firm AHBE|MIG to add new amenities and improve existing features which include: a new community event center; a half-mile lakeside community loop trail with picnic areas; a children’s play area with a splash pad; an outdoor classrooms and educational graphics; California native coastal sage scrub and freshwater marsh wetland habitats; and a wedding lawn.
In addition to these much needed amenities, the park is also helping to improve water quality in South Los Angeles. A new pump located beneath the park’s surface diverts stormwater runoff from a 375-acre watershed that feeds into Compton Creek, which is then channeled into the lake at the park’s center. The new landscaping and wetlands area along the perimeter of the manmade lake provides natural filtration of the water, which is then treated, stored, and reused for park irrigation.