INDIANAPOLIS — Wearing bright yellow jackets and carrying brooms, Indianapolis' new Street Ambassadors are working to clean the downtown area one step at a time.
Hired by Downtown Indy, the team of six will address growing concerns about cleanliness and safety, especially in the Wholesale District. Tim Boruff, Downtown Indy's vice president of finance and operations, said the Street Ambassadors' primary focus will be to take care of trash and graffiti removal.
"We could see that the city and downtown residents and workers deserve a more clean place," Boruff said. "It is important that we provide our best foot and hospitality moving forward.
Leaders said with something needed to be done with more and more people living downtown and an increase in panhandlers and people experiencing homelessness.
"This is very important for downtown," Boruff said. "We compete with other cities for talent acquisition and economic development, so it is so important that are streets are clean, attractive."
And just weeks after the team hit the streets, some are already seeing a difference.
"I think the last time we were out there a few months ago, it was not incredibly pleasant, but I've noticed there's been a good improvement and it seems to be a clean, more family-friendly environment," Adam Wagner said.
This is just the first phase of the Street Ambassador Program. The team will also receive hospitality training and work with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department to report dangerous or inappropriate activity they encounter.
It is a pilot program right now, but if successful, leaders said they will pursue additional funding to make it a more permanent program.