Local residents work to clean up downtown.

An outspoken man and a “take-charge” person, Jim Kinnamon is spearheading an effort in Shawnee to clean up the town and help solve the issue of homelessness.

Kinnamon and Johnny Kneisel both have been working on the effort and were drawn to the effort through their association with the Santa Fe Depot and Shawnee Historical Society.

“We were having problems down there with break-ins and trash,” Kinnamon said.

An effort started small, with Kinnamon and Kneisel gathering bids for a tree mulcher to use for a weekend. However, that idea didn’t work.

“They [the bids] were just way too high,” Kinnamon said.

So about a month ago, Kinnamon began a clean up effort through the Facebook page “Shawnee Proud, Pott County Strong.”

“The response has been overwhelming,” he said.

The page currently boasts more than 300 members. Through the page Kinnamon was able to round up volunteers and donations enough to clean up along the creek from 10th Street to Farrall Street.

Kinnamon even approached residents living in homeless camps in this area and asked them to relocate.

“In this endeavor, we were asked what we were going to do with the homeless we were displacing,” he said.

Kinnamon added he spoke with officials from several local churches, Shawnee Rescue Mission, and Salvation Army.

“Everyone had a different solution,” he said.

Kinnamon said he met with Mayor Wes Mainord to discuss the issue, and a town meeting has been set up at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27, at the Ritz Theatre on Main Street in downtown Shawnee.

“We’re going to have a community solution on how to deal with the homeless in Shawnee,” he said. “I want both sides of the story there.”

His group has expanded to cleaning up downtown, especially the alleyways. They also added no trespassing signs.

Kinnamon said he hopes to bring pride back to Shawnee, and has no intention of slowing down on his project.

“Our founders and forefathers worked hard to build this city,” Kinnamon said. “We didn’t work hard to build it, but we can sure pick up a broom and sweep it up.”