Wichita group decorates overgrown weeds for holidays, sparks city response

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A Wichita group has taken a unique approach to decorating for the holidays.

The Yellowbrick Street Team, a tactical urbanism group, said it noticed some overgrown weeds under the Douglas Avenue Bridge in downtown.

“When you are driving through cities and you see these large things encroaching into the roadway, it detracts from all the things we have done like the Douglas Avenue art days and all the planters along Douglas,” said Yellowbrick Street Team member Todd Ramsey. “Those just stick out like sore thumbs when you see these large, dead weeds growing out of the road.”

Ramsey said the group wanted to bring the weeds to the city’s attention. Instead of calling the city to report the issue, the group decided to decorate the weeds as if they were Christmas trees.

“We were watching the Charlie Brown Christmas special and that little sad Christmas tree just reminded us of the little sad weeds under the bridge and we wanted to make them beautiful,” Ramsey said.

The group decorated the weeds with red and white tinsel. One of the team members then posted on the group’s Facebook page encouraging other community members to decorate the Christmas tree.

“Bring your holiday spirit and the ugliest ornament from your basement to hang on the giant weed growing out of the west side of the train bridge on Douglas, between Union Station and Naftzger Park. Let’s see how much decoration we can get before Christmas, or the City cutting down the giant weeds growing out of the bridge,” a member posted on Facebook.

“We love this city and so as we are raising awareness, we are having a little bit of fun, but we do actually want to cause positive change for our community and this is one of the ways we want to do that,” Ramsey said.

KSN contacted the City of Wichita regarding the overgrown weeds under the Douglas Avenue Bridge. The city confirmed the weeds were growing on city property and shortly after KSN brought the issue to the city’s attention, crews were sent to the area to remove the weeds.

A city spokesperson said its crews have a maintenance schedule where they regularly mow grassy areas and street islands. However, the crews do not regularly check under bridges like the Douglas Avenue Bridge because weeds are not supposed to be located there.

The spokesperson said KSN’s call to the city about the weeds was the first time the weeds in the area had been brought to their attention. Officials added people can call the city to report a weed issue or they can report it on the Wichita Reports app. 

Ramsey added the Yellowbrick Street Team did not mean any ill will by decorating the weeds.

“It’s the holiday season and we wanted to raise some holiday cheer and awareness for kind of the beautification of our downtown,” Ramsey said. “This is just a fun, light-hearted, casual way to do it and again it’s awareness.”

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