Louisville neighbors clean up park with violent past

Neighbors in west Louisville clean up park with violent past
Volunteers clean window panes at Victory Park. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Volunteers clean window panes at Victory Park. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – A West Louisville park that has seen some violent days was the focus of a clean-up effort Saturday morning.

At just the right angle, a mirror image of Victory Park can be seen in the reflection on the slick surface of the splash pad.

Despite its current state of peace, the park has seen its share of violence.

"The Victory Park Crips are a violent, extremely violent Louisville based street gang," Russell Coleman, a United States Attorney, said at 2017 press conference.

That was last fall when federal prosecutors announced dozens of charges against five suspected gang members in the area, and in months prior to that there were several shootings nearby the park too.

But one look at Victory Park on Saturday morning, and you could tell a lot of good happens there too.

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"I think its important because it gives the neighborhood a place to go outside of the everyday life struggles," California neighborhood leader Norman Parker said.

Saturday struggles in the park were limited as volunteers cleaned it up.

"It's a West End neighborhood that doesn't always get the attention that it needs," Matt Spaulding, a volunteer coordinator with the Olmsted Parks Conservancy, said. "So, it's really important that we come here and engage the community members."

Just last year, Olmsted Parks put in a walking loop, lights and planted 35 trees.

Next week, they'll start constructing a new playground and splash pad continuing to enhance the historic park.

Changes like that and the clean up Saturday are things Parker said he thinks help decrease violence there too.

"It gives the community something to look forward to," Parker said. "It gives you a sense that somebody cares about what's going on with you."

That idea that someone is looking out is one Parker said he felt Saturday.

"It's uplifting, too," Parker said.

Volunteers said they chose to hold the clean up Saturday because the Victory Park Day celebration is next weekend.

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