Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

Downtown damage from Final Four celebration not too bad

March 27, 2012


Fans celebrate KU's win over North Carolina

Hundreds of fans headed for downtown Lawrence after the Kansas Jayhawks defeated North Carolina, 80-67, on Sunday to earn a trip to the Final Four. Enlarge video

Minus a few flowers and a couple of tree limbs, downtown Lawrence was back to normal Monday morning, just hours after fans filled Massachusetts Street to celebrate Kansas University’s latest trip to the Final Four.

About 40 employees from the city’s Parks and Recreation and Public Works departments began cleanup duty at 5 a.m. and were finished by 7 a.m.

“There were a few flowers squashed and a few tree limbs pulled off, which we wish wouldn’t happen,” said Mark Hecker, parks superintendent for the city’s Parks and Recreation Department. “We’ll probably have to replace a couple of trees — but not this week. ”

Instead, city crews will be preparing for two more possible downtown cleanups. Every parks maintenance worker in the city will be on call following KU’s Final Four match-up on Saturday evening against Ohio State, and then again on Monday, if the Jayhawks end up in the National Championship contest.

“It is like waiting for the snow,” Hecker said. “It is something that may or may not come, but we have to be ready for it.”

Hecker said the clean-up operation is becoming pretty efficient. Parks and Recreation employees basically use leaf blowers to push all the debris into the middle of the streets. Public Works employees then use large street sweeping vehicles to suck up the trash.

Hecker, though, said crews still did have to pick up significant amounts of glass bottles. The city earlier this month passed a special ordinance prohibiting any glass containers on downtown sidewalks or streets in the hours following Kansas University’s Elite Eight and Final Four games. The ordinance, which carries a possible $100 fine, will be in force after Saturday and Monday’s games.

The ordinance turned Massachusetts Street into a magnet for plastic cups, but city spokeswoman Megan Gilliland said there may be some confusion about what’s allowed in those cups. Gilliland said the new ordinance did nothing to make it legal for people to carry cups of beer or other alcoholic beverages up and down Massachusetts Street, although police officers weren’t strictly enforcing the open container code on Sunday.

“But it is still illegal to have an open container of alcohol on a city street,” Gilliland said.

Gilliland said the city also heard concerns about the number of people on downtown rooftops as part of the celebration. She said city officials will be meeting this week to discuss any new preparations the city may make for a possible Saturday celebration.

“Our main goal is that anybody who comes downtown to celebrate be smart, safe and have fun,” Gilliland said.

Police department officials said Monday that crowd members, for the most part, were well-behaved. Two people were arrested on charges of battery after two fights near Eighth and Massachusetts streets, said Kim Murphree, a police spokeswoman, but those were the only arrests made in connection with the celebration.

Following the Jayhawks to New Orleans? Check this out

Are you so inspired by the Jayhawk’s Sunday win over the Tar Heels that you’re ready to catch them live at the Final Four in New Orleans? Here’s a guide to help you get there, stay there, and get in the Superdome for the March 31 and April 2 games.

What advancing in the NCAA Tournament means, financially, to Bill Self

Self’s contract includes several provisions that trigger bonus payments for him.

— Reporter Andy Hyland contributed information to this report.


kusp8 5 years, 10 months ago

I was down there and I agree, it was just a bunch of kids having a good time

lilbit 5 years, 10 months ago

It was a great time! I think plastic cups are fine, definitely not glass. That could cause a lot more cleanup and violence. There really is no way they can stop thousands of people from drinking down's too many people and not enough cops. The only thing that could happen is bar owners having someone standing at their doors making sure no one goes in or out with drinks...even then, people will have stuff with them and still find a way to drink on the streets. They need to just leave it glass...and let everyone enjoy the celebration since it isn't something that happens on a weekly basis or anything.

Dan Simons 5 years, 10 months ago

Jayhawk fans don't rush the court We show appreciation on Mass Show them we are not like Mizzery Party Positive

jaze5000 5 years, 10 months ago

Party positive. Until you win and then the stooges come out and will tear everything apart. Watch. It will happen.

Shane Garrett 5 years, 10 months ago

1988 Mass street merrymaking was so enjoyable.

FlintlockRifle 5 years, 10 months ago

I was downtown Monday eating outside at Jeffersons, looked across the street and sitting on a ledge outside top of Tellers was two plastic cups of "celebration", wind blew one down, missed everybody below, second one was still there when I left.----

gr 5 years, 10 months ago

"The ordinance turned Massachusetts Street into a magnet for plastic cups,"

So it's ok to litter now? Or only if you have a good reason?

“But it is still illegal to have an open container of alcohol on a city street,” Gilliland said.


Is alcohol a legal substance or isn't it? Two-facing city. It's kind-of bad, but not too bad, except, when, but, for....

tomatogrower 5 years, 10 months ago

Alcohol is a controlled substance. It means you can't just drink it anywhere. But when there are that many people, you can't arrest everyone without a riot, and they are a happy group, so let them alone. They'll go home soon enough. Not everything is black and white in the real world.

gr 5 years, 10 months ago

A controlled substance? You mean like dangerous?

If it's not to medicate, and not to exterminate, and not to experiment with, why should anyone be allowed a controlled substance? And if there was some reason, why can't you drink it anywhere, what reason would that be?

And do you mean that if there's enough people wanting to do something against the law, then it's ok because you don't want a riot? That is, if you want to do something that is wrong, get enough friends together and threaten a riot, then you can do it. Sounds kind of like the occupy and harass movement, don't it?

How many do I need to get together to rob a bank before it's counted as ok?

junco_partner 5 years, 10 months ago

I hope the city plans on providing "jonnie on the spots" on Mass Street for the after game celebrations. I was there in 2008 and all the businesses were closed. There was no place to go to use the rest room. There were guys urinating on the sidewalks. I don't know what the gals were doing, but I am sure more than a few were using the streets and sidewalks for a toliet as well. Since both games this weekend will be night time games I know the same situation will arise. Just in case the city doesn't have the foresight to plan for this, I already have my spot picked out so find your own. I also hope they aren't foolish enough to think that 2 will do the trick. There will probably be 20,000 people down there so better plan for 50 to 100 of them. Rock Chalk Jayhawks!

Bob Forer 5 years, 10 months ago

The many bars downtown were still open until late. There is no excuse for urinating in public. I can tolerate a few trampled flowers and some broken tree limbs. But urinating in public? Come on, people, find a bathroom inside a bar to relieve yourself. Its unsanitary otherwise, and we're not wild animals.

cozborn 5 years, 10 months ago

those port a potties will be tipped or full in a matter of minutes

Flap Doodle 5 years, 10 months ago

"A little vandalism never hurt anybody...." (from a source)

Bob Forer 5 years, 10 months ago

I think the city administrators and police are doing the right thing with their "hands off" approach. It's not an every day occurrence and the added tax revenue is more than enough to pay for the cleanup. 2008 demonstrated that 20,000+ people can take to the downtown streets and celebrate Final Four victories without a major incident and/or anyone getting hurt.

Keep it fun, but keep it safe.

James Minor 5 years, 10 months ago

The cops did a good job in showing a prescence, and not going crazy and trying to suppress the good time. The only violation I saw was a guy running around with no shirt, in boxers and socks, trying to shimmy up a pole. He was the only one that could have been arrested and sentenced to do a 1000 hours on a treadmill.

gr 5 years, 10 months ago

"It's not an every day occurrence and the added tax revenue is more than enough to pay for the cleanup."

So if it generates money, you can break the law?

Does that go for everything?

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