King Estates - A Model for Community Transformation

“We Cleaned Up Our Park and Made Our Neighborhood Safer”
Karla Acosta
King Estates Activist

In 2009 Community Coalition decided to focus on creating in depth organizing in the King Estates neighborhood.

King Estates is exemplary of many neighborhoods in South LA. Chronic unemployment and poverty shapes the lives future of residents and liquor stores dot the landscape. In the midst of these problems, Community Coalition believed that transformative change could be achieved by empowering residents through leadership development, waging campaigns to shut down nuisance businesses, introducing programming to the neighborhood’s park and beautifying the neighborhood.

Our multiple efforts in King Estates have culminated into one an amazing success.


“Community Coalition helped us to bring in Summer Night Lights”
Charles White
King Estates Activist

Summer Night Lights was a collaborative effort between Los Angeles City Hall and the community to tackle violence in our communities by introducing late night programming to keep our youths off of the street and in safety. It was modeled after a Community Coalition’s pilot project titled Summer of Success at Jim Gilliam Park that became so successful that it was replicated citywide by Mayor Antonio Villaragosa under the moniker of Summer Night Lights.

When Summer Night Lights reached King Park, the only park and biggest asset for King’s Estates, it was underutilized due to safety concerns. By the end of the season long programming, which included boxing, basketball and dancing, homicide rates had dropped to 0.

“There was a time when I viewed Mr. Parks simply as a businessman…Now I feel he is part of the neighborhood.”
King Estates Resident

When Community Coaliiton began listening to resident concerns we found that their was extreme dissatisfaction with the neighborhoods main liquor store, Century Liquor. Like many stores in South LA, it was a hotbed for an assortment of crimes- from loitering, to drug use and murder.

Mr. Parks, the owner of Century Liquor, soon faced pressure for organized residents ready for change. Protests, complaints to City Hall and finally dialog with Mr. Park led to inclusive community transformation that culminated with Mr. Parks hiring a security to address safety concerns, renaming his business Century Mart hosting an organic fresh fruit and vegetable stand in the middle of a food desert.

We are proud to call Mr. Parks and Century Mart our neighbors.

Bringing people together through art and music

The revitalization of King Park has led it to become a safe space where families, the arts and culture thrive. The park hosts the annual Powerfest music festival, which brings musical acts and vendors from all over the city of Los Angeles straight to the heart of South LA.