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