Six Months Since Sherman Park Unrest, Businesses Still Rebuilding
Monday February 13, 2017 marks six months since the unrest in Sherman Park. The violence and chaos sparked by the officer-involved shooting death of Sylville Smith.
Buildings were burned, police officers injured and more than a dozen people taken into custody, and community leaders and politicians vowed to take action, to heal.
While some progress has been made -- the community still has a long way to go.
Jet Beauty on the corner of Burleigh and 35th Street was one of seven businesses damaged during the riots.
Jet Beauty opened back up completely in December 2016 and still six months after the riots they're the only one.
Images of the Sherman Park area on fire are still fresh to many here. Six months later - rubble and empty spaces where buildings once were serve as reminders, but Jet Beauty is a supply of hope.
"We happened to be in the middle of something we didn't even know about," says Sylvia Sandoval who says the owners were forced to gut the inside and completely remodel.
For Jet Beauty reopening wasn't a question.
"There are people up until today they say I cry when that happened to you guys or this is my store I am happy that you're back. We get that almost everyday," says Sandoval.
Other damaged businesses are still in limbo. We spoke to the BP gas station owner's lawyer who says there are plans to rebuild in the works.
O'Reilly's corporate says they hope to but nothing is definite.
BMO Harris is partially open, but as for a full remodel of the building they tell us, "They're looking at long term options and are committed to the Sherman Park community."
Alderman Michael Murphy says public safety needs more work to build confidence for potential businesses.
"You have to build against an image that was seared into peoples memory that it was a tough neighborhood and in fact there area challenges but its not as bad as people think it is," says Milwaukee Alderman Michael Murphy.
However, Sandoval says this to anyone afraid to invest.
"Why not? You can't live afraid, it's not living. You have to move on," says Sandoval.
Two other businesses - MJM Liquor store and A to Z Wholesale which are located in the same building are still closed and boarded up.
Alderman Murphy says the citizens patrol that started has been successful. They've been able to get grants and in fact got one recently from a local bank.