New Ambassadors to make downtown friendlier, cleaner, safer

A team of 60 Clean and Safe Ambassadors are now helping folks in Downtown Minneapolis, making the place more inviting to the thousands of folks to live, work and visit everyday. It’s all part of a new initiative that will cover all 120 blocks of the newly created Downtown Improvement District.

The ambassadors are all trained as downtown concierges, and will help people navigate the city, find places of interest, and make everyone feel welcomed. On the street seven days a week, the Ambassadors will don bright yellow vests to make them easily identifiable. They’ll be on foot, Segways and small cleaning carts, roaming the area greeting and providing information to visitors and residents.

There are two kinds of ambassadors in the program. The Clean Ambassadors also remove trash, sweep up litter, abate graffiti, remove handbills, pressure-wash sidewalks, and perform other duties to help Downtown sparkle. The Safe Ambassadors, while unarmed, serve as extra eyes and ears on the street, addressing aggressive panhandling and coordinating with the Minneapolis Police Department, Transit Police, outreach programs and other services to address various safety issues in the District.

The Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District (DID) was founded earlier this year and is managed by Block by Block, a management company hired to establish the program based on their experience running ambassador programs in districts in over 30 cities nationwide.

Other services such as maintaining streetscape elements (enhanced sidewalks, irrigations systems, shelters, kiosks, etc.) and a greening program will be added in the near future. The City of Minneapolis continues to provide its existing public works and public safety services, and the DID services enhance the vibrancy and livability of downtown, making it the place to be!

DID follows a proven model as over 1000 districts exist nationwide. The DID is funded via a special assessment to all commercial properties within the 120 block area. Many government and exempt properties are also voluntarily paying into the DID as they too will receive benefit from DID services.

July 23, 2009

Published Jul. 23, 2009