Confusion Remains over What's Next for Sherman Park BP
At the corner of Sherman and Burleigh in Milwaukee, charred pumps are set to be replaced with a new gas station. The question: What will that gas station look like?
Legally, owner Pakhar Singh can build an exact replica of his previous BP station, which was burned down during last August's unrest. Milwaukee Police have still not made any arrests in that arson investigation.
However, if Singh received permission from the city, he can expand his property to the north, and build a new station further from the road. That plan was denied by the Historic Preservation Committee on Monday, but could still be approved by the common council.
"We're trying to improve the use of the site for customers," Singh's architect said Thursday night. "It's really a question of, do we relocate the building as it was? Or do we move the building to add more land space."
Dozens of neighbors attended a community meeting on the topic Thursday night, many voicing concerns with the gas station in general.
Last year, tensions between the station and neighbors boiled over, after a store worker was charged with firing a gun to scare off kids outside the store.
"They have to change, they treat the community bad," said Jacqueline Stanley. "You need to change what's on the inside, not the outside only."
Some were concerned with giving up public "park space" to the north of the gas station, an area one neighbor referred to as "the island."
"There's nothing you can do to make it look beautiful, it's a gas station!" she said. "I do not think we should give up any city land for this gas station."
Alderman Khalif Rainey gathered comment cards from everyone in attendance, which he plans to pass along to his fellow alderman.
An attorney for Singh says one thing is clear, the gas station is going to be rebuilt in some capacity. He says Singh is vowing to improve relationships with the community, and hopes they approve the newer design, which would be safer and more appealing.
"He wants to stay here in the neighborhood, he wants to be a part of the neighborhood, and he wants to do the things you want him to do," he said. "What happened was unfortunate, and he doesn't want it to happen again."