Having a clean, safe, and welcoming downtown is the foundation of a great city. Later this Summer, Downtown Roanoke, Inc. (DRI) will officially launch a new Downtown Ambassador Program representing a major investment from DRI into the ongoing improvement of Downtown Roanoke.
This new program will build on existing services and allow DRI to expand and improve the downtown experience for residents, employees, and visitors. Downtown Ambassadors will serve as extra eyes and ears on the street, clean and improve public spaces, welcome and assist the public, reach out to those in need and help connect them with services, connect regularly with downtown businesses, and more.
“We’ve seen the popularity of these programs grow greatly over the past several years and have been investigating the feasibility of bringing an Ambassador Program to Downtown Roanoke for quite some time. The challenges faced by our downtown are being experienced across the country and we are more committed than ever to working toward solutions that ensure Downtown Roanoke is a clean, safe, and welcoming place for everyone. Downtown is the face of our region and its vibrancy is vital for the growth of the entire region,” said Tina Workman, President and CEO of Downtown Roanoke, Inc.
The Ambassador Program will be administered by Block by Block, a company that serves more than 120 urban districts, parks, and transit systems across the United States, and managed b y DRI. The program will be funded with significant investment from DRI, City of Roanoke, Roanoke Foundation for Downtown, Inc., Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge Foundation, and other downtown stakeholders.
“The City is thrilled to continue to support the efforts of DRI to ensure downtown remains a vibrant area for small business, restaurants, entertainment venues, and hospitality to thrive and for residents and visitors to enjoy. We commend DRI and its membership for taking this next step in promoting downtown’s continued success,” said Bob Cowell, City Manager for the City of Roanoke.
The 8–person Downtown Ambassador team will be present 6 days a week providing nearly 300 hours of services each week. Ambassadors will be broken down into three teams with the following core functions:
• Clean Team: removal of litter and debris, weed control, graffiti and handbill removal, power washing.
• Hospitality Team: actively engage and welcome downtown visitors, answer questions, provide directions and recommendations.
• Outreach Team: conduct business outreach, address quality of life issues, check in with those in need and help connect them with services, work closely with Roanoke City Police to report and share information.
Ambassadors will be dressed in bright, easily identifiable uniforms.
DRI is working with Block by Block to launch the program with the goal of seeing Downtown Ambassadors on the street by the first of September. Between now and then, Block by Block will recruit employees for the 8–person team and those employees will go through extensive training.
This program is a community–wide effort and DRI has secured funding for the first year. They are actively seeking additional funders to ensure the program continues forward. To learn more and find out how you can get involved, contact Tina Workman at TinaW@DowntownRoanoke.org.
For more information, about Downtown Roanoke, Inc. visit www.downtownroanoke.org. For more information about Block by Block, visit www.blockbyblock.com.