Friday, August 3, 2012

Downtown Durham Inc Launches New Ambassador Team for Downtown

Part of Downtown Durham's charm are its old buildings, some winding streets, and most of all, the great people always willing to help. Now, that help is getting a formal boost from some folks charged with providing extra assistance to those moving around Downtown Durham, as well as ensuring that the area always looks its best.

Downtown Durham Inc (DDI), in partnership with the City of Durham, Durham County and downtown stakeholders from the private sector, is excited to launch the new Downtown Improvement District Clean & Safe Ambassador Team. This team will bring a new level of cleanliness, safety and hospitality to the streets of Downtown Durham, thus helping Downtown Durham to continue competing with the 1,000+ other cities around the country that already have enhanced downtown improvement services.

“We are excited about this new phase in Downtown Durham’s revitalization effort,” says Downtown Durham Inc President Bill Kalkhof. “Just like the DBAP, American Tobacco and DPAC were transformational projects for downtown, this new Clean & Safe Ambassador Team will help take our community to the next level of downtown revitalization, allowing us to continue to successfully compete with cities across the country.”

In partnership with Service Group Inc (SGI), a national leader in providing Improvement District Clean and Safe Services, and the City of Durham’s Economic and Workforce Development Department, DDI has put together a knowledgeable and personable team of Clean and Safe Ambassadors. In total, we will have 10 team members to begin the program; the Clean & Safe Program Manager, 6 permanent full/part time Ambassadors and 3 additional temporary ambassadors from City of Durham workforce programs. Nine of the new Ambassadors are Durham residents that were recruited directly from the City of Durham’s Joblink Career Center System, which assists businesses with recruitment efforts and job seekers with employment opportunities. Notably, the full time Ambassadors will be earning Durham’s Living Wage, and are eligible for full benefits after 3 months of employment.

The first hire of the team, Elizabeth “Liz” Wilson, will serve as the Clean & Safe Program Manager. Liz has been with SGI for 3 years, beginning as a pan and broom ambassador, then serving as a Supervisor for Downtown Jacksonville, FL, and most recently helping to launch the Hillsborough Street improvement district in Raleigh. She will bring the experience and knowledge to successfully launch and guide the new team. Liz was a 1999 graduate with Honors, from Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, KY, where she obtained a BA in Psychology and Women’s Studies. Her interest includes a wide variety of human and gender rights issues, solutions to Homelessness, and the barriers for mentally ill persons.

Under the management of Ms. Wilson, the Ambassador team will be cleaning and maintaining public
spaces, welcoming and assisting visitors, connecting those in need to social services, promoting
downtown amenities and business, assisting with special events, power washing sidewalks, weed & graffiti removal and much more. Our new Ambassador Team will be on the streets six days a week (Mon-Sat), with rotating shifts & zones and coverage on most days from 7am-10pm. In addition, the Ambassadors will also assist with for specials events and projects. (please see attached handout for a detailed list of services provided by the Ambassador team).

For stakeholders and visitors, we have established a new phone line and web address to report any
issues in downtown that need to be addressed, which are listed below.

Ambassador Hotline: 919-682-BULL (919-682-2855)
Service Request: Website

Calls to the Ambassador Hotline will be forwarded directly to an on-duty ambassador during regular
team hours and service requests will be entered into the system. Users can also go to the website and
enter the service request themselves and track the entire process, from the reporting of the issue
through the time when the issue is resolved.

Learn more about Durham online, and stay updated on all the upcoming events happening here with the Durham Event Calendar.