This past Saturday, Los Angeles County officials broke ground on an expansive makeover of Earvin Magic Johnson Park in Willowbrook.

The first phase of the project, designed by landscape architecture firm AHBE, will involve the construction of a new community events center, an outdoor pavilion, a splash pad, children's play areas, and improved lighting, walking paths and parking lots.  L.A. County also intends to divert water from nearby Compton Creek to fill in a man-made lake at the center of the park and create 30 acres of wetlands.

Phase one, budgeted at $70 million, is on pace for completion in 2020.

The complete master plan, which will transform all 120 acres of the park, is expected to be built out over a period of 18 years.  Total project costs are estimated at $135 million.  At completion, the park will be expanded onto an adjacent property along 126th street that previously was improved with public housing. 

Both the housing and the park were built on a site that once served as oil storage, prior to soil remediation.