Downtown Improvement Blog

Launching Block by Block Campus Services!

Introducing our new division of Block By Block

We are excited to announce Block by Block Campus Services, which focuses on providing our high-quality safety, cleaning and hospitality Ambassador services to campuses across the country. Visit bbbcampusservices.com to learn more.


Block by Block Campus Services

Everyday your university faces real challenges beyond the boundaries of campus

Student perceptions of their own personal safety

Public space concerns like burned out street lights

Deterring crimes so students don’t become victims

No university exposure in off-campus areas

Give it to the ambassadors!

After hours and off-site safety escorts

Daily positive interactions with students

Additional eyes and ears for campus police

Reporting and fixing maintenance issues

Let’s talk

We provide peace of mind to campuses like yours so you can focus on your core business. Contact Block by Block Campus Services today to find out how we can create custom solutions for your university’s unique needs.

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Cincinnati Ambassadors Prep for 2015 MLB All-Star Game

Downtown Cincinnati Ambassadors are preparing the city for the 86th MLB All-Star Game, July 14, 2015

Cincinnati Ambassadors at All-Star Game
An estimated 200,000 visitors will be gracing the streets of Cincinnati for the 2015 MLB All-Star Game, and Cincinnati Ambassadors are excited to meet, greet and introduce the city.

Ambassadors have been working hard to clean the streets and parks to create a great first impression. They regularly patrol the city to provide directions, answer questions and assist as needed, but they are specifically gathering info on all things Cincinnati related in anticipation of more questions and inquiries from people who aren’t necessarily familiar with the city.

“We get questions about ‘How do I get from downtown, where do I go shopping?’ They’ve heard about OTR, and they want to know what’s the best way to get there. We’ll be able to give walking directions driving directions, and even some public transportation information,” Cincinnati Ambassador, Tricia Suit said.

Read more at Cincinnati’s WLWT Channel 5 News.

Heroic Ventura Ambassador rescues children and their father from riptide

Ambassador, Christopher Hoffman, Recognized for Saving Two Children and Their Father From Ocean Currents

Ambassador Rescue in VenturaWe are proud to share this story from our Park Safety Team in Ventura, California — Christopher Hoffman, one of our safety ambassadors, rescued two children and their father from being pulled out into the ocean. The family are all okay thanks to his proactive rescue attempt, and Hoffman has since been recognized by the California Department of Parks and Recreation and local radio station, KNX 1070 NewsRadio, for his heroic rescue.

From the California State Parks Press Release:

California State Parks Recognizes Excellence in Employees and Partners
“Christopher S. Hoffman, Park Aide, Los Angeles: Chris rescued two children and one adult from drowning when he was off-duty and camping with friends at Thornhill-Broome State Beach. A 10-year-old girl and an 8-year-old boy were swept out into the ocean on a day when big waves were crashing on the shoreline. The father had gone into the water in an attempt to help. If Chris had not acted heroically, all three lives may have been lost on that afternoon.

The Director’s Recognition Awards Program is a statewide program that recognizes exceptional and outstanding accomplishments in employees and partners that model behaviors that further the mission, goals and core values of California State Parks.”

Ambassador Named KNX News Hero of the Week

Hoffman also received local award “News Hero of the Week” by KNX 1070 NewsRadio.

Listen to the radio podcast here.

Block by Block Ambassadors Hired to Manage Downtown Detroit Cleaning Program

Ambassadors Manage Downtown Detroit Cleaning

Detroit Cleaning Efforts Launch Downtown Clean Ambassador Program

The Downtown Detroit Business Improvement Zone (BIZ), established in April 2014, is partnering with Block by Block to develop their Downtown Clean Ambassador Program and re-energize Detroit cleaning efforts. The move was orchestrated by the Downtown Detroit Partnership.

Detroit cleaning initiatives have aimed to generate job opportunities specifically for Detroit citizens with long-term employment difficulties since the creation of the Clean Downtown program in 2006. Goodwill Industries has spearheaded these efforts and is excited to continue to staff employees for the new Block by Block Ambassador program.

“We’re delivering on what we set out to do nine years ago; this next generation represents the sustainable which was the long term vision of Clean Downtown. We are encouraged about this new direction with Block by Block,” Eric Larson, CEO of Goodwill, said.

“We are excited to blend Block by Block’s national best practices with Detroit social impact through important local partners such as Goodwill Industries.”

The Downtown Detroit Partnership released a statement explaining that the new program will, “deploy a team of uniformed ‘ambassadors’ throughout downtown daily to clean and serve as information resources for downtown businesses, residents and visitors.” This new Detroit cleaning program will launch in June with a new Clean Ambassador Operations Center.

Read more at Detroit Free Press.

Photo: 2006 photo by AMY LEANG/DETROIT FREE PRESS

Providence DID Anniversary Celebration

Providence DID Celebrates 10 Years!

Providence DID Celebrates Their 10 Year Anniversary!

Launched in February 2005, Providence Downtown Improvement District celebrated a decade of service to Downtown Providence with a fitting community celebration at the Providence Public Library.

Providence DID has always been about the community — working with the people in the city, business-owners, visitors and residents, to stimulate a better living experience for everyone. The DID partnered with Block by Block during it’s formation to equip the district with ambassadors actively working to bring people together and celebrate what makes Providence so special.

Our ambassadors worked with the Downtown Improvement District to identify their mission: To continuously enhance the quality of life in downtown Providence. This led to the creation of cleaning and safety programs to supplement existing city services. The Providence DID’s highly visible Clean & Safe Teams were formed, and their bright yellow and black uniforms have been a recognizable symbol of friendliness and service to the district ever since.

These ambassadors patrol the streets daily sweeping walkways, collecting litter, removing graffiti, pressure-washing sidewalks, shoveling snow, maintaining landscaping, and contributing to beautifying the district in any way possible.

Ten years later, the programs are still immensely successful. In 2014, Clean and Safe Teams in Downtown Providence:

  • Removed 6,667 graffiti stickers and 4,010 graffiti tags.
  • Collected and removed 648,460 lbs. of trash.
  • Made a combined 10,848 contacts with property and business owners.
  • Spent 1,506 hours watering flowers and 800 hours removing snow.
  • Rode 1,069 miles on bikes while patrolling the district.

Martha Sheridan, president and CEO of the Providence Warwick Convention and Visitors Bureau, stated, “Whether coming to Providence for leisure or business travel, visitors want to arrive in a city that is clean, safe and friendly. The Downtown Improvement District team is a visible reminder for travelers that our city is just that. The DID’s work helps us to position Providence as the inviting, vibrant city that Travel + Leisure readers named number one in the United States.”

So on March 3, the DID proudly came together to celebrate their first decade of operation and all it accomplished, while looking forward to continued growth for the community. Frank LaTorre, DID director of public space, led the program which included PPL Executive Director Jack Martin, DID Chairman Richard Lappin, Mayor Jorge Elorza, Council President Luis Aponte, and Councilman Seth Yurdin.

According to Downtown Providence, LaTorre described the city core as “the downtown for all Providence neighborhoods,” repeating the mayor’s campaign slogan of “One Providence.” He highlighted a variety of DID initiatives–including advocacy for streetscape projects, the Hospitality Resource Partnership and marketing efforts.

Future projects for Providence DID include an increased focus on public art, stronger lighting, activated alleys and more bike/pedestrian-friendly projects.

Read more at Downtown Providence.

Read about recent projects of Providence DID and Block by Block ambassadors at The Providence Journal or GoLocal Prov.

Photo: Marianne Lee

Free Candy from Louisville Downtown Partnership Ambassadors

Louisville Downtown Partnership

Louisville Downtown Partnership Spreads the Spirit of Valentine’s

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, Ambassadors from the Louisville Downtown Partnership extend their hospitality by passing out candy over the weekend.

Ambassador David Warren said, “The Ambassadors try to do everything they can to make everyone’s downtown as nice as it can be. This is just a little something to let them know that we appreciate them coming downtown and we’d like for them to come back.”

The Louisville Downtown Partnership has been passing out Valentine’s Day candy for 11 years. This is one of the many ways the Ambassadors work hard to serve the Louisville public, and spread positive attitudes and friendliness among the district.

Watch the interview here.

Stuck Boat Extracted from Boston Snowbanks

Stuck Boat Removed by Block by Block

Block By Block Ambassadors Remove Stuck Boat from Snow

From the Boston Globe:

Even boats are not safe from Boston’s snowbanks this winter.

The Maggie Mae, based out of Jamestown, R.I., became stuck at the intersection of Summer Street and Lincoln Street in Boston Wednesday afternoon for about two hours, said Rosemarie Sansone, president of the Downtown Boston Business Improvement District.

Lieutenant Michael McCarthy of the Boston Police said that the truck that was carrying the boat had a mechanical issue.

About 12 business improvement district “ambassadors” helped dig the vessel out of the snow, with assistance from Suffolk Construction.

The Maggie Mae tied up traffic in the area and attracted pedestrians armed with cameras, Sansone said.

“It was just a spectacle,” she said. “People were just saying, ‘wow we’ve seen everything.’”

McCarthy said police officers in the area assisted with traffic that became tied up.

The boat was towed from the scene just before 3 p.m.

Read the original story by Christina Prignano at The Boston Globe.

Special Interview with Grand Rapids Ambassador

Grand Rapids Ambassador Interview

Meet Grand Rapids Ambassador, Veronica Aho

Wood TV’s eightWest does a special interview with Downtown Grand Rapid’s Kristopher Larson and Block by Block Grand Rapids ambassador, Veronica Aho, who was recently named Downtown Ambassador of the year.

Larson explains the Block by Block Grand Rapids Ambassador program as, “It’s a team of good samaritans we deploy in the downtown 6 days a week…Anywhere from 8 to 10 ambassadors there to really help people. I like to tell them they get the honor of being someone’s hero everyday…They’re there to help people. They’re there to find somebody who needs some type of assistance.”

On how to find the right type of person to become a Grand Rapids ambassador, Larson responded, “I need superheros and rockstars like Veronica here. It really requires a special breed of person.”

Watch the interview at woodtv.com.

Photo courtesy of eightWest.

Hollywood Ambassadors work to provide safe and welcoming downtown environment

Hollywood Ambassadors

How Hollywood Ambassadors Help Keep the District Safe

The Sun Sentinel features an article about Hollywood Ambassadors’ Safety Program and their latest stride to maintain calm in spots that are known for both tourism and crime.

The article takes a close look at how exactly Block by Block Hollywood ambassadors thwart crime and keep the district safe, while maintaining their other responsibilities such as removing graffiti and litter and providing outreach to the downtown’s homeless population.

For example, the Sun Sentinel details how the Hollywood ambassadors, “work from 4 to 10 p.m. five days a week, and from 4 p.m. until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. Clad in bright yellow shirts, they are unarmed, but keep in close contact with police and each other via two-way radio.

“Roaming on foot and bike, they report crime, alert officers to suspicious activity and keep an eye out for code violations. They also walk visitors to their cars, give directions and answer questions about the area, handing out brochures on shops, restaurants, special events and trolley schedules.”

Read more at the Sun Sentinel.

Photo courtesy of Michael Laughlin, Sun Sentinel.