Volunteers clean Concourse Park

Photo by Corbin Smith

By Corbin Smith, Editorial Assistant

Trekking along the trails behind the historic Colonnade at Concourse Park, more than 60 volunteers picked up trash the morning of June 22. With yellow Kansas City-issued trash bags and wheelbarrows in hand, volunteers were ready to rid the thick brush of waste.

Upon arrival, volunteers were offered water bottles and Powerade in order to stay hydrated while they worked. The mission to clean the park and its trails began at 9 a.m. and continued until 11 a.m. when all workers would be expected back at the Colonnade.

Photo by Corbin Smith

Historic Northeast resident Ken Richardson invited additional people through a Facebook post to meet him at the Colonnade to be “part of the solution” and offered free lunch to those that helped.

“The park needed it,” Richardson said. “There’s got to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 pounds of trash between here and Lexington Bridge. That’s got to be something like 10 pounds every 20 feet.”

Photo by Corbin Smith

Starting at the Colonnade and moving through the trails extending from behind the historic structure, workers were scattered to gather pieces caught in trees and along the path.

Immediately after crossing the bridge at Lexington Avenue over Chestnut Trafficway, copious amounts of trash filled a ditch. Further down the path, workers found blankets, comforters and other bedding. With the hills plunging drastically off the side of the walking path, volunteers had to work together in a conveyor-like process in order to thoroughly purge the area.

Photo by Corbin Smith

Although he reached out from his Facebook, not all the volunteers were friends of Richardson. BOMA KC volunteers were organized by Houston DeFoe, founder of Merging KC.

“These people are corporate sponsors, these people are on actual payroll and are given a paid day off to come work in the park,” Richardson said.

Photo by Corbin Smith

Richardson said he’s worked with many different groups to clean up the park and he’s been coming out to do so at least twice a month. For the corporate sponsors, they pick up trash for about two hours, but Richardson said he’ll stay for up to four hours at a time cleaning the park.

After just an hour of work, around 30 bags were piled at the intersection of Labelle Drive and Lexington Avenue. Richardson said he usually winds up with 100 bags of trash when he picks.

Photo by Corbin Smith

Many residents and visitors of the Historic Northeast community have expressed their concerns about the trash buildup and want something done about it. Neighborhood cleanup events like this are a step toward preserving the community’s appearance and health.

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