A stretch of Naismith Creek in southern Lawrence looks better than it has in years following a large-scale cleanup of the area Saturday morning, organizers said.
"I think everybody had a sense of community spirit when they were done and a sense of community accomplishment," said Patty Perez, "Green Team Coordinator" for Wal-Mart of Lawrence and organizer of the clean up.
More than 200 people turned out for the cleanup, including about 170 boy scouts and cub scouts, members of Kappa Tau Omega fraternity and volunteers from area neighborhood associations, Perez said.
The crew took out "mountains" of trash from the creek between 23rd and 28th streets, she said.
Items taken out of the creek included six shopping carts, mattresses and tires.
Some of the trash had been washed into the creek following heavy rains in the city this spring.
Several people nearly drowned in the creek on May 6, when a storm dumped five inches of rain on Lawrence in about two hours.
Much debris, including two cars, were swept into the creek on that night alone, when the creek became a raging river.
Perez said that much of the debris picked up on in Saturday's cleanup may have been dumped from storms this spring but that other items were there for much longer.
"There were some things that were in there for quite a while," she said.
Volunteers used no special equipment for the cleanup.
"The boys and all the volunteers just pulled everything out (by hand)," she said. "Everybody came out of there kind of muddy."
The cleanup began about 8 a.m. and was finished about 11 a.m., she said.
Organizers collected enough trash to make four "mountains" of it along the creek, Perez said.
The trash and debris was taken away by city sanitation crews.
"There's a really nice nature trail back there, and people don't know about that," Perez said, noting that the area will be much more attractive for walkers and bikers now.