Volunteers spend Saturday cleaning up downtown Wichita

WICHITA, Kansas – A big volunteer effort took aim at downtown Wichita Saturday to do some spring cleaning. The clean-up is now an annual event and this year it brought out more than 100 volunteers.

You may have noticed, lanes on Douglas between Washington and Waco were reduced to just one. A headache for some, but was all for the safety of volunteers painting along the streets and the underpass of Douglas. You could pretty much find people of all ages helping out city crews Saturday.

“I don’t like when people just throw stuff out,” said volunteer, Nathan Hicks.

And neither does the city of Wichita. So it’s spring cleaning time. Nathan and his father, Marcus Hicks, are two of the nearly 150 volunteers who came out to help out.

“For downtown, in a lot of ways, it’s the first impression. When a visitor comes to Wichita, if you’re coming to the arena or you’re coming to Old Town with friends, it just makes a difference. It’s your first perception in a lot of ways,” said Wichita Downtown Development Corporation executive vice president, Jason Gregory.

This was a collaboration between Wichita Downtown Development Corporation and the city of Wichita. The city says efforts from numerous volunteers helped tremendously.

“We get a lot done in three hours down here with all this volunteer help,” said Terry Nicholas, Public Works and Utilities traffic maintenance supervisor. “It would take us, I’m sure, weeks to do this much work that we’re getting taken care of in this one day in this short period.”

Cleanup projects included sidewalk sweeping, painting the Douglas underpass, street curbs and parking stalls and landscaping at Naftzger Park and A. Price Woodard Park..

Christine Bowser says she’s been helping with the cleanup for years.

“We’re a strong community and I mean, that’s what Wichita is known for. For all of the connections and everything that we do for the community,”

In those few hours of cleaning up the city, it became a bonding experience for others.

“It’s just been fun for him and I to hang out,” said Hicks. “So it allows us to get some father and son time, but it also allows us to get some father and son time, but it also allows me teach him how to protect our environment.”

Organizers says they’ll continue this annual event next year, saying its something they can give back to their city of Wichita.

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