The Sherman Park neighborhood has long been considered the neighborhood that worked.
For Milwaukee, the population is relatively diverse — racially and economically — and many residents say they chose to live there because it’s a community where neighbors look after each other.
The weekend of violence in Sherman Park, sparked by the fatal shooting of Sylville Smith in mid-August 2016, came as a surprise to some homeowners. Others said they had been watching tensions build. Frustration with the shortage of activities for youths and jobs, and a lack of parental involvement in some homes, set the stage for violence, they say.
NNS spoke with three long-time homeowners and one who had recently purchased a house in the neighborhood about why they chose to invest and live in Sherman Park, how they remember the events of three years ago and how their neighborhood feels to them now.
Greg Adams, a 25-year Sherman Park homeowner who lives half a block from the park, is a retired teacher, active musician and student of television and video production. He most recently taught at Clarke Street School. Adams is in touch with the community’s parents and young people and is knowledgeable about the conditions that affect them.
Ashlee Crowder, a young mother raising two children, bought a house two blocks from the park in March and moved into the neighborhood in September 2016, just after the shooting. She is a psychiatric technician at the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex.
Alan Borsuk, who lives near the Sherman Perk Coffee Shop, where the interviews were conducted, has been a Sherman Park homeowner for 36 years. Three of his adult children, all homeowners, and 12 of his grandchildren live nearby. Borsuk reported for the Milwaukee Journal and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for many years. He is now the senior fellow in law and public policy at Marquette Law School.
Sheena Carey came to Milwaukee from Washington D.C., to attend Marquette University, where she earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism and communication. Carey bought a house in Sherman Park 36 years ago. She teaches in Marquette’s Diederich College of Communication, where she serves as director of student internships.
About Andrea Waxman
Andrea is a senior staff writer for NNS, where she writes about people who do great things as well as education, policy issues and economic development that affect our neighborhoods. You can reach her through email or call the newsroom at (414) 604-6397.
About Mark Doremus
Mark is the video content strategist for NNS. He holds a Ph.D. in journalism and a law degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He worked as an administrator for the University of Wisconsin System for 20 years before he retired in 2015. You can email him or call the newsroom at (414) 604-6397.
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