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The Pride of Lawndale, Calif.- Hogan Park
Landscape Architecture by David Volz Design, Costa Mesa, Calif.


The new playground at Hogan Park in Lawndale, Calif., offers steel shelters, picnic areas, pedestrian lighting, tubular steel fencing and a gated/columned entry of interlocking pavers (Olsen Pavingstone). The park earned an American Public Works award.


Music notes are inlaid in the floor plane of the play space. "Piano keys" adorn the benches and the play equipment features musical elements. The musical theme pays tribute to a local music store frequented by the Beach Boys back in the day.

Hogan Park is a beautiful new neighborhood park that almost didn't happen. If it weren't for a spark of inspiration realized through the community outreach program that yielded creative design ideas and a determination of Lawndale's civic leaders and city staff, this feat might never have happened.

A new park with swings, play spaces, picnic areas and grass seemed well beyond the possibilities for the small parcel of open space available within Lawndale's east side neighborhoods. Note: Lawndale (pop. 32,769) is in the South Bay area of metropolitan Los Angeles.

The goal of betterment of the community's image, greater opportunities for health and wellness and access to a broader range of recreational experiences came from the community. At an initial neighborhood meeting focused on improving a small city lot, many community participants advocated that a "real park" could be built if the adjacent street was closed. This brainstorming changed every aspect of the project.

A firestorm of activity by civic leaders and city staff solidified the feasibility of a street closure on Osage Avenue. An extensive public outreach confirmed the neighborhood's backing for this large open space park. With the city short on funds, developmental costs for the project required seeking funding from several sources, including grants and special street funds. Once the project was awarded an Openspace and Parks District park improvement grant, the project was approved.


By closing Osage Avenue, the new park became a significantly larger open space. More than 50 trees were planted-Brisbane Box, Chinese Tallow, Eastern Redbud, King palm, live oak, 'Pink Dawn' Chitalapa, 'Pink' ipe and 'Samuel Sommer' magnolia-three times as many as would have been installed if the through street had remained. The turf is 'Elite Plus' sod. The concrete walkway is 10' wide to accommodate emergency vehicles.


The trees installed within the hardscape areas (e.g., the King palm in this photo) have Ironsmith tree grates and frames.

The closing of Osage Avenue provided the space for the many recreational program elements the community needed and desired. The through street had created significant cut-through congestion and parking problems, along with night security concerns. With the street closed, a new landscaped environment has replaced the asphalt street. Security and safety has improved, and property values are rising.

With the larger footprint afforded by the street vacation, all the most important elements desired by the community were included in the pleasant park layout. The neighborhood children can take to the climbing rocks, ropes and a climbing tower. There are music notes inlaid in the floor plane of the play space. "Piano keys" adorn the benches and the play equipment features musical elements. The music theme commemorates a local music shop once frequented by the Beach Boys. New outdoor exercise equipment, group and individual picnic spaces and sinuous walking paths invite families and neighbors to come and congregate at this great new park.

The new park is more than twice the size of the open space parcel identified prior to the street closure. The gateways that invite the community into the park during the day are locked at night. The recreational elements desired by the community were carefully juxtaposed on this expanded site. Play lots for toddlers and grade-schoolers, climbing rocks for older kids, and small and large picnic and gathering spaces are provided for important community and family events. There is grass for running and playing and plenty of shade trees across the former street right-of-way. There is even a large exercise area that is regularly used by young adults and by parents who are in the park with their children.


This play piece is called a "Phizics" climber, described by Miracle Recreation Equipment as "jax on a post." An appropriate poured-in-place safety surface was specified on the playground.

The new 50,000 square feet of recreational space accommodates several activity areas that would not have been possible with the limited initial site layout. The new park accommodates more than 50 trees, three times as many as would have been installed at the smaller site. The site is safe with no adjacent vehicular traffic concerns for kids in the park. The large covered group picnic space and two small picnic gazebos provide community and family gathering spaces. The park is a safe and friendly space with plenty of interesting details. Hogan Park always seems to be full with happy smiling park patrons.

Park Team
Landscape Architect: David Volz Design
-Civil: DMS
-Electrical: Design West Engineers
Contractor: Future DB International, Inc

Select Manufacturers
Greenfields Outdoor Fitness: playground
Ironsmith: tree grates and frames
Madrax: bike racks
Olsen Pavingstone: Interlocking pavers
Thomas Steele: park benches

As seen in LASN magazine, June 2018.

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November 15, 2018, 9:43 am PST

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