Cleanup downtown continues as clock ticks toward Tourney

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- As the Panthers leave Milwaukee headed for Buffalo, where they'll play Villanova in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday, March 20th, tens of thousands of others are headed for Milwaukee. College basketball fans from across the country will fill downtown streets for the NCAA men's basketball championship -- centered at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in downtown Milwaukee. With hours to go until the NCAA Tourney kicks off, the effort to get Milwaukee ready continues.

One of the biggest efforts in getting Milwaukee ready for the NCAA Tournament is cleaning up city streets after a long, harsh winter.

As the snow melts, what springs up long before flowers are discarded bottles and trash.

"Just going to have to do the best we can," Greg Peterson with the Clean Sweep Program said.

Crews with Milwaukee's Clean Sweep Program do Milwaukee's spring cleaning every year. This year, the promise of thousands of tourists walking the streets is added motivation.

"It's a lot of fun. A lot of people from all over the country. They're out here having a good time," Peterson said.

Department of Public Works crews were out on Tuesday, March 18th making sure light-bulbs burn brightly.

Milwaukee's harsh winter has made some of the work a bit challenging.

Christmas decorations at Cathedral Square Park are frozen into the ground.

Private power washers were busy cleaning cement around the BMO Harris Bradley Center, but not everyone was brave enough to use water -- as temperatures hovered around freezing.

"What we're using is good old fashioned elbow grease to get our city clean in preparation for thousands and thousands of guests that are going to be coming from all over the country to visit our great city," Beth Weirich with Milwaukee Downtown said.

CLICK HERE to learn more about Milwaukee's Clean Sweep Program.