Evansville Resurgence: ‘Come Together’ for Patio Night

Local News

An olive branch extended between two rivals as two gangs look to bury the hatchet.

Members of Wagg Block and Savage Life agree the violence must stop.

The cease fire was brokered by activist Henrietta Jenkins and community groups, and is slated to span 30 days. But the groups expect it to extend well beyond day 31.

While two groups in the trenches strive for peace, efforts from city leaders to stop violence continues as well, at a focal point of Evansville’s inner city.

The first patio night of the season at C.K. Newsome Center.

“I think it would get some kids off the streets,” says Donna Wagner, “something positive for them to do.”

Newsome Center’s gym is not immune to problems of its own. Just a year and a half ago, gunshots were fired on a Sunday afternoon with 40 people packed inside.

After its own resurgence with beefed up security and added staff, patio night now aims to revive the inner city.

Believe it or not, Evansville has a gang problem; a fact acknowledged by city leaders and police.

“Chaos,” says Rodney Stinson, with the Parks Department, describing the state of the streets. “Young kids shooting, all the bullying that’s going on in schools today.”

Reaching out to the community and offering and outlet is the goal of patio night.

“It’s good for kids to meet different kids,” Wagner says, “They don’t all go to school together, they’re all different ages and they seem to be playing pretty well together.”

The challenge now is growing patio night to outpace the violence.

“Regardless if it’s west side, east side, north side, south side, this is a central focal point. We should all come together,” Stinson adds.

The next patio night is scheduled for Friday june 17 from 6 to 9 p.m.

A talent contest is slated with prizes for the winner.

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