$83 Million Make-Over Breathes New Life Into Magic Johnson Park

The $83 million renovation to Magic Johnson Park in Willowbrook, an unincorporated community in South L.A., provides much needed amenities to the community and a lesson in water conservation.

At a time when California is in the throes of a severe drought, the park now uses an innovative water system to help conserve and store water.

The new stormwater recycling system diverts runoff water from the neighborhood to a pumping station, where garbage is removed before heading to a treatment plant for cleaning. Once treated, the water is released into the wetlands at the park’s perimeter and used to irrigate its gardens and lawns, as well as to fill two lakes. Additionally, the lakes act as a water storage site with the ability to accommodate up to a one foot rise in the water level.

Sitting on a former oil storage facility, Magic Johnson Park boasts a 20,000 square foot event center, a dedicated outdoor wedding pavilion, a splash pad, jogging paths, and plenty of other amenities. The park offers art classes, exhibits, and artist residencies at the facility through its relationship with the Department of Arts and Culture, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Supervisor Mark-Ridley-Thomas led the charge to revitalize the 126-acre park. The renovation is the largest park investment by LA County in recent history. So far, 30 acres of the park have been improved. AHBE | MIG and Paul Murdoch Architects designed the initial phase of the project.