Organizers of a volunteer effort centered around cleaning up trash and other debris throughout the community are currently working to resurrect the project.
Clean Sweep, which last took place in 2008, is a program sponsored by the city to clean up areas of Fort Scott. First developed by the city codes department, the effort involves city staff and other community members scouring the town collecting trash and debris in trash bags.
"It was originally developed when I was with the city before in 2006," Brent Crays, city codes and zoning manager and director of community development and project management, said. "I left after that and the people in the same position didn't pursue it. When I came back, I was very pleased with the performance of it before and decided there was no reason why we would not want to try and bring it back."
Crays described the project as "community development" and a "cooperative effort" between city staff and residents to clean up streets, sidewalks and alleys.
"It's multiple people in the community who are willing to help the overall community by walking down the streets and alleys picking up trash, litter and debris," he said. "It's people coming together to help the rest of the community as well."
Under the previous program, usually conducted in the spring, volunteers were responsible for cleaning up certain designated areas during short periods once each year. Crays said he would like to keep some of those elements, but make it more of an "ongoing thing" that lasts the entire year.
"People would adopt an area of Fort Scott and once every couple of months, spend a couple of hours on Saturday or whatever to pick up trash," he said. "I think that's more effective than just once a year."
Crays said several people wanted to continue participating in the program even after it ended a few years ago, "and that's not a problem."
"It's not too intrusive to people's lives, once every three months or so," he said.
In the past, once trash is picked up, the city picks up full trash bags at designated locations near the alleys, or placed in business dumpsters. The city also previously provided trash bags and T-shirts bearing the Clean Sweep logo to those who gave of their time.
Crays said the project is in the early planning stages and organizers are trying to recruit enough volunteers to be able to set up a meeting at which work and areas that need to be addressed would be discussed.
"We're in the stage of trying to get contact information for volunteers," he said. "We have received several, from middle school and high school students especially; groups of kids who want to participate as well. I'm hoping that within the next 15 to 20 days to be able to set a meeting date and move forward."
Crays said local residents who have questions about the program, or wish to get involved can contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Interested volunteers will be placed on a list that is being compiled and organizers will "get back with them," he said.
"We have quite a few already," Crays said. "I would say at least 35 to 40 volunteers."
The idea for the project came about in 2006 in response to a public survey that identified various problems with the city. Survey results included general clean-up ideas and ways to spruce up certain areas of town.
"The idea came about from looking at a trash problem that we had," Crays said. "We wanted to build a network of people to do the program, and maybe that would help our position in the city so we could accomplish more than what I could do by myself."