Victory Over Violence Park’s renovations win grant for new stage


Victory Over Violence Park is undergoing renovations that will include funding from a new $40,000 grant. (Photo: City of Milwaukee)

Ongoing renovations to the Victory Over Violence Park in Milwaukee’s Harambee neighborhood have received a $40,000 grant to help fund a new performance venue.

The park, 2615-2643 N. King Drive, opened 20 years ago as a community gathering space, as well as a healing space for victims of trauma due to violence.

But the nonprofit group which helped maintain the park, Career Youth Development Inc., eventually stopped operating after funding troubles surfaced in 2014. The park then fell into disrepair.

The first stage of renovations was completed in 2019. Those included removing old railroad ties as well as overgrown trees.

The next phase involves adding new paths, lighting and plants to create a botanical garden, said Deshea Agee, executive director of the Historic King Drive Business Improvement District.

The district, which is funded by assessments on neighborhood commercial properties, is helping lead the park’s restoration.

A $40,000 challenge grant from AARP Wisconsin to the district was announced Thursday.

The grant will help pay for installing a new stage with shell cover, solar bollard lighting and fully accessible seating.

Another phase will involve adding a shipping container for storage and additional stage space.

Partners on the park renovations include the City of Milwaukee, which owns the site, as well as University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Westcare Wisconsin, Safe and Sound, Bader Philanthropies, Greater Milwaukee Foundation and Safezone Initiative.

Community residents involved in the project include Charles Walton, son of Jeannetta Simpson-Robinson. Simpson-Robinson, who died in 2008, was the founder and longtime chief executive officer of Career Youth Development.

Tom Daykin can be emailed at [email protected] and followed on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. 

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