A group of Shawnee area residents spent Saturday cleaning up downtown and around the Santa Fe Depot but Jim Kinnamon said the work is not over.
“People say downtown is dead,” Kinnamon said. “Downtown’s not dead. We’ve got a lot of plans for downtown.”
Kinnamon and a small group got together to discuss how to help fix downtown issues with people making camp and leaving trash behind. Kinnamon got the word out through social media to raise funds in order to rent equipment and also organized a group to help with clean up efforts. The group was successful in raising enough money to rent the type of equipment they needed to remove trees behind the depot.
Kinnamon said Tom Terry asked for help cutting trees but because tree debris can’t be burned in city limits, he rented a machine that turns tree debris into mulch.
“Hopefully that will serve two purposes,” he said.
He said clean up efforts will beautify Shawnee and help eliminate undergrowth where people hide, camp or toss trash and belongings.
“I just do it because I like Shawnee…I love Shawnee,” he said.
Kinnamon said the main issue started occurring when people who were camping out behind the depot started breaking in and stealing things being stored there, then selling items for money. He said Saturday the crew, a group of around a dozen people, cleared about five campsites full of trash and cleaned out the undergrowth behind the Sparkman building, an area where most of the trash was found.
“I’m trying to do something about it,” he said.
Kinnamon said he and the rest of the volunteers are not finished. A malfunction in the equipment put clean up efforts to a halt Saturday, but Kinnamon said once that is fixed, they will continue with their efforts.
“It’s going to take more than a dozen people,” he said, referring to the quantity of clean up needed downtown.
Kinnamon said he and other residents plan on seeking additional help from anyone willing to take the time to restore Shawnee’s beauty.
Anyone interested in helping can find additional information on the group’s Facebook page, Shawnee Proud, Pott County Strong.