Lancaster Ambassadors: Same but Different


Lancaster Ambassadors: Same but Different

The Lancaster Ambassadors program will continue! 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.

Tony Wright, operations manager of Block to Block, stated, “Our focus is customer service and that’s what we’re going to strive for.”

New changes included in the contract renewal with Block by Block for Lancaster Ambassadors include:

  • 20 additional hours of service per week.
  • Additional clean team and bike squad shifts on Fridays and Saturdays.
  • 168 working hours for the bike ambassadors and 116 clean team hours weekly.
  • The placement of 175 sensors spread across the downtown used for tracking.

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.

Learn more about our Lancaster Ambassadors.

Photograph by Marty Heisey.

5 Cleaning Strategies from 5 of the Cleanest Cities in the World

What exactly are the cleanest cities in the world doing to keep their districts so clean?

Zoom out for a moment and discover 5 strategies for cleanliness taken from 5 of the cleanest cities in the world.

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1. Think small like Singapore.

The city-state of Singapore maintains its cleanliness by considering the little things. Stickers in bathrooms remind citizens to always flush the toilet. Littering fines are high and well communicated. Chewing gum sales are forbidden to avoid gum stuck to public subway stations or benches.

While you probably won’t be outlawing chewing gum anytime soon, Singapore has established a high level of cleanliness with consistency in minor actions.

Every scrap of litter adds up. Small actions, like reminding the public to avoid dropping a straw wrapper on the sidewalk or tracking mud onto public transportation, can lead to big results.

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2. Recycle well like Adelaide, Australia.

By emphasizing recycling, Adelaide drastically reduced their dependence on landfills, leading to a much cleaner living environment. The city encourages citizens to consider giving quality, unwanted items to charity and to urge each other to rely on the city’s recycling services.

Look into your city’s recycling options. Work with your city and neighboring cities to pursue more recycling initiatives and minimize waste.

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3. Remove graffiti quickly like Minneapolis, Minnesota.

We are especially proud to see Minneapolis on so many “cleanest cities” lists, as Block by Block works hard everyday to keep the city clean. Minneapolis’ stance on vandalism and graffiti is to remove it within 24 hours. This reduces new graffiti and keeps areas looking welcoming.

Make it your goal to erase graffiti within 24 hours. Read more graffiti fighting techniques here or watch the video below to hear more from Minneapolis.

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4. Aim for cleaner and more public transportation like Zurich, Switzerland.

Zurich citizens often choose to travel via public transportation. They have many options available including tram, bus, boat and train. Public transportation reduces carbon emissions by decreasing the number of individual cars in transit everyday. The city keeps their systems well kept and reliable.

You can encourage the use of public transportation by keeping your cities public transportation options as clean as possible. Create carpools to decrease carbon emissions.

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5. Spread environmental awareness like Reykjavik, Iceland.

Reykjavik discovered that once it decided to implement green cleaning programs in its government, environmental efforts became a more attractive proposition in the local economy. Many businesses in Reykjavik now implement environmental policies to encourage employees to consider cleanliness in their everyday work and commutes.

Set a good example by establishing environmental awareness campaigns at in your district. A movement toward a cleaner city can only start with someone like you taking action and inviting others to join.

Along with these strategies, most cities that regularly rank on “cleanest cities in the world” lists have organizations working hard to prioritize efficient and effective cleanliness measures.

As a business improvement district, rally together and implement these 5 cleaning strategies to re-energize your city on cleanliness and how it can improve standard of living.

3 Steps to Eliminate Graffiti in Your Downtown District

3 Steps to Eliminate Graffiti

The cost to eliminate graffiti to your downtown district is huge. Not only does it cost business and property owners money in property damage, it costs the community by having a negative impact on the environment. It intimidates residents, deters tourists and shoppers, and invites other vandals and crime in general.

Your district cannot afford to let graffiti be an issue. Read below for three steps to developing a comprehensive graffiti management program for your downtown district.

1. Eradicate

Remove graffiti as quickly as possible. Allowing graffiti to linger in the area can rapidly breed more. Also, if taggers regularly see their work removed immediately, they will eventually move to another area. Make it your goal to have all graffiti tags removed within 24 hours.

2. Enforce

Work with your local law enforcement to ensure taggers are penalized. Partner with your local government to advocate for laws pertaining to graffiti. These laws should include penalties for those who do the tagging. Property owners must also be required to remove graffiti in a timely fashion.

3. Educate

One of the most successful, yet least used strategies, in graffiti management is education. Let the community know that graffiti is a serious problem. Inform them about what is being done to stop it. Finally, educate them on what they can do to help.

>Your Turn

What steps has your district taken to eliminate graffiti?

What tactics has your district used to educate the community about the graffiti issue?

Download our free graffiti tip sheet to explore options to eliminate graffiti in your downtown.

Glendale Ambassadors greet downtown visitors


Glendale Ambassadors Lead the Way

Visitors to Glendale’s downtown business district can now count on getting pointed in the right direction by blue-shirted Glendale Ambassadors.

Rick Lemmo, president of the Downtown Glendale Assn., said the ambassador program is contracted through Block by Block, a company based in Louisville, Ky. that provides safety, cleaning and hospitality services such as greeting shoppers and theater-goers as well as picking up trash and keeping the surroundings tidy.

“When [visitors] see somebody with the blue shirt and tan pants and blue hat, that’s an ambassador working not just to keep the city cleaner, but to provide information,” Lemmo said.

Continue reading this article at

Downtown Cleveland Alliance inaugurates new cleanup of Cleveland Harbor


Port of Cleveland inaugurates new cleanup of Cleveland Harbor
Work boats to remove floating debris from river and lakefront as part of Port’s environmental stewardship mission

OCTOBER 17, 2012 – The Port of Cleveland commissioned two custom-made boats today that will remove floating debris from the Cuyahoga River and downtown Lake Erie shoreline. They are part of the Port’s broader mission to help restore the health of the river and serve as a proactive environmental steward in and around our waterways.

The Port formally commissioned the sister vessels – Flotsam and Jetsam – and their crews during a ceremony at North Coast Harbor along Cleveland’s downtown lakeshore.

“Flotsam and Jetsam will make a visible and vital impact on our waterways and community,” said Port Chair Bob Smith. “They also fit with our strategic role as a steward of two vital civic assets – our ship channel and the downtown lakeshore.”

The Port designed and built the aluminum vessels with a $425,160 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The Cuyahoga River Remedial Action Plan (RAP) had worked closely with the Port on the grant application.

The U.S. EPA has designated floating debris as an environmental stressor. Such debris, which can range from logs to plastic bottles, is also an aesthetic nuisance and a potential hazard for the commercial vessels, recreational boaters, and wildlife that use the river and lake. Its removal is part of ongoing work to renew the river and remove it from an EPA environmental watch list.

“These boats send a signal to residents and visitors that we are working to help keep our river and lakefront clear and clean of garbage and other floating debris,” said Port President and CEO Will Friedman. “Although water quality is much improved, floating debris can leave the wrong impression.”

Each boat has a different purpose, but they work in tandem. Flotsam scoops up debris with a shovel and places it in Jetsam’s large bagsters. Jetsam also has a special crane to grab larger and heavier debris such as tires and logs. The Port designed the boats to navigate in tight places along the twisting Cuyahoga River and also tow a 250-foot floating boom that can sweep the river of floating debris. The boats are expected to remove enough floating trash to fill dozens of dump trucks annually.

“We have a responsibility to protect the 13,000 trillion gallons of fresh water directly off the shores of Cleveland,” said Jenita McGowan, Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson’s Chief of Sustainability. “The Flotsam and Jetsam work vessels will be removing debris from the river and the lake not only enhancing recreation and commerce, but helping to reduce plastic pollution and other debris that plague wildlife in Cleveland.”

The boats will be operated by crews from the Downtown Cleveland Alliance, whose Downtown Ambassadors are well known for their work cleaning and enhancing city streets.

“Our Clean and Safe Ambassador program has created a vibrant downtown Cleveland, safe and inviting for residents, visitors and office workers,” said Joe Marinucci, the Alliance’s President and CEO. “DCA is the first downtown organization of our type in the country to take on a maritime role. We are proud of this important partnership with the Port Authority, as we reclaim our city’s natural assets.”

The boats will operate daily for the next several weeks, weather permitting, and then resume work next April.


The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority operates the Port of Cleveland, a leading gateway for waterborne trade on the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway System. Nearly 18,000 jobs and $1.8 billion in economic activity result from the roughly 13 million tons of cargo that move through the Cleveland harbor on average each year. The Port also provides innovative financing services for a wide range of development projects in Northeast Ohio, and is leading initiatives to solve critical infrastructure challenges along Cleveland’s waterfronts.

Safety, maintenance from patrol ambassadors revitalize Westwood Village business, impressions


By the time the shops in Westwood Village open their doors for another day of business, Deandrea Dobson has already been patrolling the streets for two hours.

Before she greets the sun, Dobson weaves in and out of the streets to wake the homeless sleeping on the Village streets and cleans debris on the streets.

Clad in her uniform khaki pants and bright blue polo shirt, Dobson is one of 16 ambassadors that have been patrolling the streets of Westwood Village for more than a year to ensure its safety and cleanliness.

Read more about how Block by Block helped revitalize Westwood Village at the Daily Bruin.

In Downtown Crossing, a rising tower lifts all boats


Downtown Crossing Makes Its Impression as Friendly and Helpful

Downtown Crossing, part of Boston’s historic downtown, made a big impression on Irish tourists Mike and Brenda O’Brien.

“Our first trip to your lovely city was a revelation to us. The clean & tidy city is so easy to navigate (after a couple of days) and the transportation system is as good as any we have used. The people are friendly and welcoming,” the couple wrote in a letter to the Downtown Boston Business Improvement District, singling out the organization’s paid “ambassadors” as being particularly friendly and helpful.

Rosemarie E. Sansone, president of the private nonprofit Downtown Boston BID, acknowledged that the Downtown rarely received such accolades in recent years. “It was always tired, beleaguered, down-trodden,” she said. “But now there’s great momentum. We want people to know that this place is coming back.”

Read the full story at the Boston Business Journal.

Ambassadors Keep Downtown Nashville Safe and Clean


Keeping Downtown Nashville Safe and Clean

See graffiti on a downtown building, notice too much litter in the Gulch or just need help navigating the area? The safe and clean team is there to help.

The team, clad in bright yellow shirts and riding bicycles or Segways, works to ensure the downtown Central Business Improvement District and the Gulch remain clean and attractive for the area’s 6,000 residents, nearly 50,000 employees and millions of tourists.

The cleaning team provides daily supplemental service and assists property owners through an online reporting system. The staff are employees of the Nashville Downtown Partnership, which is contracted to manage the program by the downtown and Gulch business improvement districts.

“It is so important to focus every day on keeping the area safe and clean and attractive,” said Tom Turner, president and CEO of the Nashville Downtown Partnership.

“Visitors from other cities and countries often comment about how clean our downtown is — and we want that perception to continue.”

Read more about how Block by Block keeps Downtown Nashville Clean and Safe at The Tennessean.