Big Four Bridge walk aims to deter violence

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by Alex Schuman

WHAS11.com

Posted on March 30, 2014 at 9:48 PM

Updated Sunday, Mar 30 at 11:56 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – In just a little more than a year, the Big Four Bridge became a beloved staple in Louisville.

“It's part of our city's culture.  We're a river town.  How much more connected can you be to being in a river town than getting to walk over a bridge, that can't be used for anything else.  And go see your city," Louisville resident Paul Boser said.

But the teen mob last Saturday caused a spree of assaults and robberies leaving many people worried about coming to the park.

“I thought this is just wrong. There’s millions of people who use this park every year. And we’re gonna keep using this park,” walk organizer Bob Hill said.

Hill organized the walk to show the community supports making changes to prevent more violence, and will not give up going to one of their favorite new places.

"Yes, there was a serious problem.  Yes, they're dealing.  And I just felt we had to do something to get people energized and organized to come out and walk this park," he said.

Hill sent out a Facebook message and quickly discovered plenty of people want to be heard.

"We all gotta stop acting like somebody else is gonna take care of our problems," Gerina Whethers said.

Since the 17 assaults Saturday, we know at least three assaults and one robbery have happened. 

"Why can't we just be free to come down to the river and not have to worry about whether we're gonna make it home or make it to a hospital," Whethers added.

Those who attended the walk say they support the police presence in hopes of lowering those numbers but do not consider more officers to be a lasting solution.

 "There are programs out there that... they're not being utilized.  So, um, these kids need to know that there places they can turn to and people they can talk to that will keep them from the streets.  Keep them from violence," Toshia Henderson said.

They want city officials to push for more programs, more awareness of education, and a bigger push to discover what is behind the increase in youth violence.

"There's no one thing that's gonna solve this and it's not gonna be solved in the next week.  It's gonna take years," Hill said.

Mayor Fischer and members of the Waterfront Development Corporation also joined in the walk. 

Fischer urged everyone who showed up to stay involved as they work to prevent more violence.

 

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