Sign up to give Indy a spring cleaning before March Madness begins

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — More than 150 volunteers are helping give Indianapolis a spring cleaning before guests with the Big Ten men’s basketball tournaments and other high-profile sports events come to the city.

Organizers are looking for a few more willing volunteers.

The street crews were out and the fountain was flowing Thursday, earlier than in recent memory at the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. The weather may feel winterlike still, but a round of spring cleaning is certainly underway.

“I think we’re all ready,” said Bob Schultz, vice president of marketing and communications for Downtown Indy Inc., a group that supports downtown Indianapolis initiatives. “This is putting that final luster on a downtown that is ready to shine.”

Both Friday and Saturday, an army of volunteers will spread out to take care of the little things. Schultz said they will be picking up the trash, getting the mulch beds ready, and removing stickers and other graffiti.

The city has previously hosted big events, but Schultz said that’s the past. “We should never take this for granted. We should never, especially this year,” he said.

If done right and the experience is good for visitors, the impact is impossible to fully know. It’s a big deal to host four teams and fan bases for the Final Four. This time around, likely a once-in-a-lifetime chance to multiply that by 16, even if the numbers are smaller per entourage.

“That would be four teams,” Schultz said. “We’re going to take that and make it 68 who will come here with the hope of making it to the Final Four.”

The entire March Madness men’s basketball tourney will bring all the contenders to four sites in Indianapolis, and others in Bloomington and West Lafayette. That means 68 opportunities to send folks home who want to come back or will tell their friends.

“If nothing else, people will leave here knowing Indianapolis can do big things in challenging times,” Mayor Joe Hogsett said.

Volunteer groups are being organized by the Indiana Sports Corp. They are meeting on Monument Circle at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Friday and then again at 9 a.m. Saturday. Volunteers can register on the Sports Corp website.