Downtown Improvement Blog

Clean and Safe Neighborhood Programs Follow Downtown Cleveland’s Lead

New Clean and Safe Neighborhood Programs in Cleveland

Clean and Safe Neighborhood in Cleveland

Taken from Crain’s Cleveland Business

Several Cleveland neighborhoods are developing their own clean and safe neighborhood programs to provide additional safety and upkeep to their commercial districts after seeing the success of Downtown Cleveland Alliance’s own clean and safe ambassador program.

Local businesses are seeing the benefit of having an easily recognized, unified team of ambassadors in the area to serve the public.

Peter Rubin, President and CEO of Coral Co. located in Shaker Square says, “I think the brand is worth something. We believe people identify the Ambassadors from their uniforms. We were providing much of the same services with a patchwork of contractors, but this delivers the services comprehensively with people who are well-trained.”

Another business owner in support of additional clean and safe neighborhood programs, Jeff Moreau, owner of Sweet Moses, an ice cream shop in Gordon Square Arts District, adds, “As a property owner, it makes the whole area desirable and brings more interest for new businesses that may be considering coming in.”

Crain’s Cleveland Business details the success of the clean and safe ambassador program in more detail, and explains why so many other areas are seeing the appeal. The article continues with a breakdown of how districts are paying for programs like these and the financial gains from such an investment.

Read the full story at Crain’s Cleveland Business.

Photo by Downtown Cleveland Alliance.

Learn more about our Downtown Cleveland Alliance Ambassadors.

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 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.

Get Started

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.

Read more at Cincinnati’s WCPO Channel 9 News.

Learn more about our Downtown Cincinnati Ambassador Program.

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.

Learn more about our Ambassador Program at Downtown Ventura.

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.

Learn more about our Downtown Detroit Cleaning Program.


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.

Learn more about our Providence DID ambassador program.

Photo: Marianne Lee

You Can’t Spell “Spray Paint” Without “Pain”

You can’t spell “spray paint” without “pain”

The pain graffiti can cause your district — extra costs, lost investors, negative perceptions — warrants a moment to understanding graffiti better. Know more about the issue to make it your number one target and minimize its impact.

Before and after graffiti

1. It’s intentional.

Graffiti is typically not senseless damage to property.

It’s often committed to send a message, show dissatisfaction, get revenge or make money. Finding out “why” collects insight on the source and how to proceed next.

2. It happens late.

Graffiti is often committed late in the evening, as less people are likely to be around and businesses have less surveillance. After-school hours can be common for juvenile offenders.

Contact and encourage security to be in the right place at the right time to deter new tags.

3. It’s public.

The most common targets are properties where no single organization or individual has direct responsibility.

Consider additional surveillance and communication around public property or private property in public view, especially areas that have been tagged before.

Learn more

Download our free Graffiti Tip Sheet for a better understanding of why, when and where graffiti occurs as well as 8 more strategies to prevent and reduce graffiti in your city.

Download Now

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.

Learn more about our partnership with Louisville Downtown Partnership.

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.

Learn more about our Downtown Boston Ambassadors.