LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Dozens of volunteers planted trees at the reopening of Victory Park on Saturday. The planting kicked off phase one of a $1 million renovation.
The project is designed to help revitalize the California neighborhood and curb crime.
Victory Park has a reputation for gang activity and drug deals, according to residents. A shooting there in September killed Brandon Lewis and injured two others.
Phase one of the renovations include a new walking path, improved lighting and a basketball court.
"We believe parks have the ability to help revitalize a neighborhood and that is our objective," Olmsted Parks Conservancy Chairman Earl Jones said.
Jones wants the renovations to positively impact the lives of families in the California neighborhood. He views the $1 million cost as an investment.
Councilman David James (D-6) sees the renovations as a catalyst for community accountability.
"I think that it will be something that helps the neighborhood claim this area and push away the things that are negative," James said.
Neighborhood volunteers Alex Gazaway and Norman Parker grew up near Victory Park.
"We know we have a history of crime over here. We can't have a major impact in one night, but we are trying," Gazaway said. "We are just trying to change the paradigm of thinking when it comes to Victory Park."
Phase two of renovations are expected to start after the first of the year. They will include a new sprayground and playground
Louisville Metro Parks and the Olmsted Parks Conservancy played a major role in the renovations.