The Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department has invited more than 100 local organizations to "adopt" and help care for a city park or public area.
Under the new "Adopt-A-Park" program, groups are being asked to volunteer to pick up litter at a park site, said Fred DeVictor, parks and recreation director.
A group must commit to four cleanups a year for at least one year.
Parks officials have compiled a list of 33 park areas and numerous public areas, such as highway entrances and parking lots, in need of extra attention.
Last week, they sent more than 150 invitations to groups that might be interested in the program, including flower clubs, scouting groups, service organizations, and Kansas University fraternities and sororities.
PARKS OFFICIALS will try to match the size and interests of a group with a particular area. "If they live near a park, or live across the street from an area, we'll try to work it out with them," DeVictor said.
The goals of the program are cleaner public areas and increased civic pride in the parks system, DeVictor said.
The volunteer clean-ups will not replace regular city maintenance of the park and public areas, DeVictor said.
"This will just complement the work we already do in the parks and public areas," he said.
DeVictor said city crews also could benefit from the input of the park volunteers.
"It's very possible they might see something we don't," he said. "If they see something wrong, like a broken swing or something, we want them to tell us."
Because the invitations were sent just last week, it's too early to gauge response to the program, DeVictor said. However, four local groups already have volunteered to participate,
KU'S PHI Delta Theta fraternity has volunteered to adopt the city land along Clinton Parkway, one of the most troublesome areas for maintenance crews, DeVictor said.
"We can go pick up the area, and two days later it looks like we haven't been there in a month," DeVictor said.
The fraternity's stretch of Clinton Parkway extends more than four miles from Iowa Street to County Road 13, also known as the Corps of Engineers Road.
In addition, Brownie Troop 691 has committed to Clinton Park, the Mt. Bik bicycling club will adopt the east levee trail in Riverfront Park, and Haskell Indian Junior College's American Indian Science and Engineering Society will adopt a trail east of the college.
There are no deadlines for applying to the program, DeVictor said. Anyone interested in the program should call the Parks and Recreation Department at 832-3450.