Recognizing Essential Workers in the Second District

Juan Cordero: Magic Johnson Park

While residents across Los Angeles County continue to cope with the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus crisis, there is a group of unsung Angelinos who continue working to improve our communities.

Under recent “stay at home” orders, construction was deemed an essential service, and as a result, there are several significant infrastructure projects still well underway across the Second District. These projects are employing local workers who honorably report for duty every day knowing they are making a significant contribution to their community. 

This series will recognize some of these essential infrastructure workers and the transformative projects they are working on during the pandemic.

Spotlight on Magic Johnson Park: Magic Johnson Park, which is going through a dramatic transformation. The $80-million first phase of park improvements is focused on creating amenities that do not currently exist in South Los Angeles. This includes a 20,000-sq. ft. community events center to host conferences, weddings, and other large gatherings. Improvements also include an outdoor wedding pavilion, a splash pad, children’s play areas, better security lighting, and walking paths. The first phase is on track to be completed this summer.

Meet Juan Cordero. Juan was born and raised in the South-Central area of Los Angeles, raised by foster parents. Now, he’s a married father of two, also fostering a child as a way of giving back and helping a child that needed a home.

Juan is a Carpenter specializing in metal stud framing and drywall installation for Superior Wall Systems. He has worked at Magic Johnson Park since he walked up to the site nine months, right after graduating from trade school and asking for a job. He was hired on the spot.  He feels proud to be working for this project and do something for his community.

Juan’s Perspective: The park has been in the community for a long time, but was due for much-needed improvements. He believes that the residents of his community will benefit from the new community center, the exercise equipment, the splash pad, the kids’ play area, lakes, and other new amenities. He also mentioned that the community is talking about the project and that they can’t wait for it to open and to be able to enjoy the park.

A typical day for Juan: First things first. Juan gets his coffee while getting ready for work. After an 8-hour shift, he picks up his kids from childcare and helps them with homework. Because of COVID-19, his family is home a lot, he explains, but he’s enjoying this time with them.

Juan takes pride in being an essential worker because he helps build community projects that create spaces for his neighbors to relax and enjoy life. “This is a project that families will be able to enjoy for a long time to come,” Juan said.