LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Plagued by crime and rundown buildings, neighbors in Louisville's Parkland community are saying enough. The neighbors are getting together to send a message that they don't want violence to serve as the backdrop for their lives anymore.
With the help of Metro Councilwoman Attica Scott, the residents are in the beginning stages of change in Parkland for their neighborhood and their children.
What happens in a neighborhood is a reflection of the people who live there.
The people of Parkland refuse to let what happened in 2012 define them. Boarded up homes and buildings were the backdrop for a May afternoon of gunfire last year, when three people died and three more were wounded during one of West Louisville's most violent days.
After months of work, the abandoned buildings are coming down and one in particular has a much improved look. Hoping it's a catalyst for more positive things, neighbors looked on at "Parkland Rising," the art project depicting a rising Phoenix created by the children of Parkland and artist Ramona Dallum Lindsey.
Ed White, the founder of the River City Drum Corp, was there with his musicians. He explained to Lindsey, "My Granddaughter got killed right there." White is the grandfather of May 17, 2012 shooting victim Makeba Lee. "I always remember that smile," he said of his granddaughter, "I always remember that smile." When White saw the phoenix project, he smiled too.
"It makes you stop and say wow," he explained. But White is a realist. "It's a phoenix rising," he said, then asked, "but for me it's, are we going to rise above art projects?"
For White, his symbol is the police tape he carries with him. The same tape that wrapped around his granddaughter's murder scene.
"Never in 100 years, did I ever think that my granddaughter would be shot 14 times for no reason," he said, "For somebody to just walk up on her and shoot her like her life had no value?"
White maintains the only way to stop the tape from going up is to educate parents to give their children time and love, children like Makeba's son Tishon, now 2 years old. "I ride past his day care," White smiled, "And some days I ride by just so he can see me."
Because what happens in a neighborhood is a reflection of the people who live there.
The Center for Neighborhoods made the P.A.I.N.T project possible through a grant from the Metro External Agency Fund.