Downtown Improvement Blog

How do you score on our Downtown Cleaning Checklist?

Downtown Cleaning Checklist

Our downtown cleaning checklist allows you to do a quick audit of your district’s cleanliness, refreshes you with some helpful cleaning ideas and provides strategies for how best to accomplish them.

Sometimes your district booms with so much activity, the little things that help make your district so attractive in the first place get lost. It’s the perfect time to tackle some of these cleaning projects and keep your district looking its best.

How many of these could you check off with confidence?

Remove graffiti

Clean and paint fixtures

Remove gum spots

Power wash surfaces

Remove litter

Plant and prune landscaping

Sweep curbs

Set up pet waste receptacles

Our complete Downtown Cleaning Checklist provides helpful tips and tricks for getting your city in top shape based on examples across the nation, so you can check each of these off with confidence and 100% this list.

Download your cleaning checklist

Download your free Downtown Cleaning Checklist for cleaning ideas and strategies to tackle trouble spots, garnish a fresh, bold look and keep it that way.

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The Downtown Action Team in Albuquerque, NM has partnered with the state’s correction department to complete community service projects within the downtown area. This partnership has allowed assistance to keep downtown streets beautiful while promoting employment opportunities and awesome role models to those involved in the state’s probation and parole department.

Read more about this partnership at Albuquerque Business First.

5 tips to improve business safety in your district

Improve Business Safety In Your Downtown District

Don’t let your business stakeholders become targets for criminals. Maximize business safety by encouraging the business owners in your district to follow these safety procedures:


Suspicious Persons1. Report suspicious persons.
Be mindful of suspicious persons and those who ask probing questions about security or operating procedures.


Backdoor best practices2. Limit backdoor access.
Keep backdoors closed and locked. Install peepholes if possible. Check who it is before opening the backdoor.


Secure valuables and devices3. Secure all personal valuables.
Every employee should have a place to lock away valuables. Don’t leave electronic devices used for point-of-sale, such as cellphones or tablets, lying around unattended.


Money Handling4. Be safe with money handling.
Lock your safe. Don’t keep large amounts of cash on the premises. Do not openly discuss how much money comes in or how cash and checks are transported for deposit.


Document Storage5. Safely store important documents.
Any document with financial information or personal information should be secured out of reach and public view.


Learn more

Download our Business Safety Tip Sheet and send it to the businesses in your district so they can learn strategies for keeping their employees, finances and properties secure.

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How to Make Your Downtown Friendly [Free Guide]

Gain a reputation for being the friendly downtown

Make your downtown friendly and watch the district bloom. The more comfortable and welcome people feel in your district, the more likely they are to not only return again, but to tell others about their great experience.

Change perceptions of your district and become known for your hospitality by following these best practices.

Ambassador Making Downtown Friendly

1. Hire for personality

Ambassadors are the single most important factor in making your improvement district more hospitable.

People with outgoing and caring personalities need only to be equipped with knowledge of the district to become excellent ambassadors.

2. Train to serve many “publics”

Consider the different “publics” your ambassadors will encounter and train them to identify and understand the needs and approach for serving each group.

3. It begins and ends with parking

Because an unfriendly or disinterested parking attendant can ruin a great experience downtown, it is important that parking facility operating companies are committed to achieving the same customer service standards.

Free hospitality guide

Seven more hospitality strategies are included in our hospitality guide. Improve your hospitality experience, make your stakeholders happy, and bring more visitors to your district by implementing these strategies. Make your downtown friendly, and download our hospitality guide to get started today.

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How to Encourage Employee Safety

Encourage employee safety

Ensuring employee safety for all the workers in your district could make a tremendous impact on overall safety in your downtown. Encourage your stakeholders to share the following personal safety best practices with their employees.

Be Aware1. Be aware.
The number one tip for personal safety is to maintain awareness of your surroundings. You have a better chance of noticing a possible threat in advance.

Protect Yourself2. Protect Yourself.
Let others know where you are and when to expect you. Remember, there’s safety in numbers. Don’t look or act like an easy target. Be purposeful in your actions.

Protect Your Car and Valuables3. Protect your car and valuables.
To protect your parked car, think “Lock, Take, Hide.” Lock and secure your car. Take your keys with you. Hide anything valuable that must be left in your car.

Simple strategies, substantial results

These quick safety strategies can yield big results. Just like the two-second click of a seatbelt, remind your stakeholders how crucial it is to prioritize simple safety habits.

Get more tips when you download our free Employee Safety Tip Sheet.

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New Block by Block Website for Downtown Improvement Districts!

Safe. Clean. Helpful

Welcome to our new and improved website!

As a provider of cleaning, safety, hospitality, outreach and landscaping services to downtown business districts around the nation, we decided it was time to spruce up our own home base online.

  • You can read more about each of our services and our strategy behind them on the Services page.
  • View our Cities page to find a neighbor near you served by Block by Block ambassadors.
  • Head over to the new Downloadable Resources page for free tip sheets and guides full of best practices to help you in the ongoing development of your district.
  • Learn why Block by Block is your best choice for improvement district services.

Our aim is to continually develop our processes to better partner with downtowns. See what some of our customer have to say about us, then let us know how we can be of service to you.

Stay tuned to our new website and the Downtown Improvement Blog you are currently reading for strategies on creating an experience worth sharing for the visitors, residents, businesses and stakeholders of your district.

Lancaster Ambassadors: Same but Different


My Lancaster News, a partner with Lancaster Online, reports that Downtown Lancaster has decided to expand their partnership with Block by Block. Under the new contract, Block by Block will be supporting both the clean and safe programs of the city’s Downtown Investment District.

Ambassadors will be cross-trained to perform cleaning functions as well as the security functions of the patrolling bike squad. Read more at My Lancaster News.

Photograph by Marty Heisey.

5 Safety Strategies from 5 of the Safest Cities in the World

Last month, we pulled cleaning strategies from 5 of the cleanest cities in the world. This time, let’s look at 5 of the safest cities in the world to figure out what they’re doing right.

Travel the globe with us once again to uncover 5 strategies for safety taken from 5 of the safest cities in the world.

1. Be available and visible like Vancouver, Canada.

Both Vancouver’s local police force and the federal Royal Canadian Mounted Police work hard to be available and active throughout Vancouver. Citizens and tourists know they can easily find and rely on authorities who are dedicated to service, crime prevention and law enforcement.

Encourage the authorities in your district to be available and visible. Just having a law enforcement presence can have a big effect on criminal activity.

Block by Block Ambassadors are an active part of their districts everyday. Our programs help leverage the limited time of law enforcement officers in your district by directing them to specific situations and alerting them to trends. Your safety program can also integrate the efforts of law enforcement and security professionals in your district.

2. Be hospitable like Munich, Germany.

Munich’s slogan is, “Munich loves you.” Along with being available, authorities should be friendly and engage the people in their districts. Munich’s welcoming mantra has given authorities a contagious and hospitable charisma. Munich has reduced crime and increased quality of living largely with changing attitudes.

Efforts to be sociable and pleasant among your law enforcement could create a similar effect.

Block by Block recognizes the power of hospitality. Our Ambassadors specifically seek to find meaningful ways to improve someone’s district experience and focus on continual engagements to deliver smiles and greetings to as many people as possible.

3. Prioritize cleanliness like Tokyo, Japan.

Tokyo can attribute much of its high levels of safety to its high cleanliness. In Tokyo, cleanliness is considered public etiquette. Its citizens generally hold each other accountable to keep the city both clean and safe.

At Block by Block, we have seen time and time again how cleanliness directly correlates to safety. Neglecting low level issues such as litter, graffiti, weeds and overflowing trash cans sends a message to visitors that an area may not be well cared for or safe.

This is why Ambassadors remove graffiti as soon as possible, maintain landscaping before it’s overgrown, and actively remove litter and trash.

4. Create safety standards like Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Dubrovnik regularly passes safety standards to ensure the safety of its citizens and visitors. For example, Dubrovnik motorways require enclosed service areas and gas stations, tunnels must be equipped with modern safety equipment, and traffic laws maintain a strict blood alcohol limit to reduce traffic accidents.

Even when government mandated safety standards like these are not the norm, creating a set of standards for your district can drastically reduce risk.

Consider pinpointing a couple safety challenges in your district. Reach out to Block by Block to assess those safety challenges and identify standards that could increase security and lower risk in those areas.

5. Create a culture of safety like Seoul, South Korea.

Seoul has several safety disadvantages, such as its dense population, large number of international residents, volcanic and tectonic activity, and less-than-friendly neighbor, North Korea. Despite these challenges, Seoul successfully created a culture of safety for its inhabitants and guests.

Like Seoul, establish safety as a norm of everyday living in your district. Start by identifying advocates of safety in your city and encourage them to connect and pursue safety awareness initiatives.

Block by Block Ambassadors can help you connect citizens, businesses and organizations and challenge them to focus on putting safety first and spreading their results. Increasing communication about safety can snowball into the culture of safety your district deserves.

Bonus Strategy: Look past your obstacles.

Each of these cities has experienced unsafe times of war, loss or turmoil. And each of these cities now ranks on several “Safest Cities” or “Best Cities to Live In” lists across the web.

These cities work hard despite difficult challenges in their pasts. Don’t hold on to your district’s specific trials and history. Look past those limitations and focus on creating a safer environment for your district.

Free Safety Guide

Download our free 360° Approach to Downtown Safety for Business Improvement Districts Guide to discover an overall strategy to improving safety and perceptions in your improvement district.