Keeping the city of McPherson clean is a top priority for the McPherson Park Department.

The department maintains 14 parks in McPherson and 400 acres of public lands, along with storm water ditches, public facilities, walking paths and the new construction along U.S. Highway 56, explained Lauren Przymus, park supervisor.

She said trash has been an issue since she started her job 12 years ago.

"We spend an average of 32 hours a week in the parks picking up trash and changing out full trash cans," Przymus said.

The department provides six trash cans in each shelter and trash cans along the roads and parking areas in city parks.

Przymus explained when someone wants to reserve a shelter, they call the park department and give their name, phone number and size of party.

If a mess is left at the shelter, the department can call the leader of the party to inform them.

"We had a shelter user a few weeks ago use it for a function and instead of disposing of their trash in one of the six cans at the shelter, they chose to just leave everything on the tables. This caused an issue as the wind came up and scattered the trash all over the park," Przymus said. "I actually received a Facebook message that a citizen took it upon themselves to clean up the mess."

Not only does the department clean parks and other facilities, they are also in charge of mowing, edging sidewalks and curbs, weed eating, maintaining public park restrooms, planting and maintaining almost 100 flower beds, cleaning shelters and maintaining the McPherson Water Park.

Along with trash, Przymus said she would like to remind dog owners to pick up and dispose of dog waste. She said they have even provided "mutt mitt" stations in most of their parks in order to help with the issue.

"That is another continuous problem we encounter along walking paths and the street," Przymus said.

This fall, the department has taken on even more projects to ensure McPherson is a clean city.

"I would just like to encourage residents to help keep our parks in good conditions. We are very proud of our parks. If we could spend less time picking up litter and more time doing other kinds of park maintenance, it would really help us out," Przymus said.

For more information, visit their website at http://http://www.mcpcity.com/178/Park-Department.

Contact Brooke Haas by email at bhaas@mcphersonsentinel.com or follow her on Twitter @ MacSentinel.