KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Crews are cleaning up across Kansas City as the city prepares for the NFL Draft in April.

Missouri Department of Transportation employees are currently working to remove graffiti along Interstate 35 near Southwest Boulevard. The project is expected to take several weeks.

MoDOT says graffiti is the first of many projects that will take place in and around the downtown loop over the next few months.

College basketball tournaments, including the Big 12 Championship, will be hosted at downtown arenas in March. There are conventions coming to the area during the same time. Then it’s time for the NFL Draft at Union Station in April.

City leaders want to make sure the city looks as good as possible during all of the attention.

“We are working to clean up our great city not only for all our civic pride, but in anticipation of several major downtown events coming soon,” Chris Redline, MoDOT KC District Engineer, said.

“We want to clean it and keep it that way, but we need the public’s help.”

MoDOT says it can’t be everywhere at once and is asking anyone who witnesses people defacing public property to report it by calling Kansas City police at (816) 234-5111.

Not only is graffiti illegal, MoDOT says it is also time consuming and expensive to remove. Several places recently cleaned up have already been trashed again, according to MoDOT.

“This is time and money we could be using elsewhere on our system,” Redline said. “We support prosecution in matters like this because taxpayer money is used to remove graffiti. And it’s not only expensive to remove, but restitution costs for anyone caught could be extremely high.”

Outdoor work like trimming trees and picking up litter is also on the agenda.

MoDOT says it hired another company to help collect trash last year. In just six months, the company collected 73 tons of litter from just 40 miles of interstates in the Kansas City area.