This morning, dozens of hotel and restaurant workers will be cleaning sidewalks and curbs, making sure the central city is in top shape for the month of May. It's becoming an annual tradition.
This is the sixth year in a row hospitality workers will take to the streets. Just as a house gets tidied up on a regular basis, but still needs the occasional deep cleaning, that's what will happen. They'll be sweeping sidewalks and removing stickers from signs.
One of the biggest issues is cigarette butts, which have become a real problem, especially with the city-wide smoking ban. Those butts end up on the sidewalks and streets. The idea is to also encourage everyone to use trash cans and keep downtown clean. especially with the tens of thousands of visitors expected here over the next few weeks.
"Every city has its prime attraction and this downtown is our front porch," said Bob Schultz of Indianapolis Downtown Inc. "It is something that we want to keep clean. We pride ourselves and our visitors telling us year after year that, 'man.Indianapolis is a clean and vibrant downtown.' We don't take that for granted."
And that's why they'll be out in force. One of the biggest challenges, though, will be finding areas that really need a lot of attention. For instance, they'll be painting over graffiti. But when we drove around looking for some, we had a tough time finding any.
The 200 volunteers will be working from 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. They'll spread out in the Wholesale District in the heart of downtown, making sure everything is sparkling for this month of May.
"We're going to look for every opportunity to work with the community," Schultz said. "Like we're doing today, with the beautification day, to be saying, 'what all can we be doing more of to take care of this asset we call our downtown?' And it's everybody's responsibility."
So if you see some trash laying around, pick it up! But most important, use those trash cans and encourage others to do the same.