‘It was a tragedy:’ BP gas station that burned during Sherman Park unrest reopens 2 years later

MILWAUKEE -- The BP gas station that was burned to the ground during the unrest in Sherman Park in August of 2016 has reopened. The spot at Sherman and Burleigh was empty for more than two years, and those in the area said the reopening serves as a good sign things are getting back on track.

"It's no longer a dead spot," said Donneva Torrence, customer.

"It's a good influence in the neighborhood. It shows that even though it burned down for a second, it didn't really stop anything," said Jeff Jones, customer.

The gas station burned during riots in the wake of the fatal shooting of Sylville Smith by former Milwaukee Police Officer Dominique Heaggan-Brown on Aug. 13, 2016.

"It was just shocking, and since it's been gone, it's like an empty hole in the neighborhood," said Markeeta Mitchell, customer.

The owner vowed to rebuild after the unrest.

BP gas station in Sherman Park

BP gas station in Sherman Park

Aerial images from Milwaukee unrest

What remains after unrest near Sherman & Auer in Milwaukee

"Hopefully we can get people back at this gas station and everything can be peaceful," said Torrence.

Aerial images from Milwaukee unrest

The "Sherman Phoenix," a 20,000 square foot space that is home to nearly 30 small businesses opened Friday, Nov. 30 in the former BMO Harris Bank space, which also burned during the unrest.

Sherman Phoenix

Sherman Phoenix

"It's a significant part of our history. It's a hard part of our legacy, but really we're re-establishing joy, re-establishing what is possible,"

"It was a tragedy, but some good did come," said Mitchell.

The gas station owner's family said they received good feedback since reopening.