Two Ambassadors step up to CID leadership roles

CID Ambassadors Art Chatman, left, and Marvin Williams have stepped into leadership roles this summer in the Community Improvement Districts.

The Community Improvement Districts (CID) of Downtown Kansas City have promoted two long-term Ambassadors to supervisor-level positions. Marvin Williams has stepped into the role of Public Maintenance Ambassador Supervisor, while Art Chatman is the new Public Landscape Ambassador Supervisor.

“It’s with great pride that we announce these promotions. This announcement is not only a vote of confidence in Marvin and Art, but also well-deserved by these two role models for the CID Ambassadors,” said Mark Rowlands, director of the CID. “They earned these opportunities the old-fashioned way – through their hard word, integrity and positive attitudes.”

Marvin Williams

Williams has been a CID Ambassador for 11 years. Hired in 2006, he was promoted to Crew Chief in 2008 in charge of the weekend crew.

Williams was introduced to the CID in 2006, when he was looking for a job and putting in applications around the City. One day as he was waited for the bus at the 10th and Main Metro Plex, Williams struck up a conversation with a CID Public Safety Ambassador who was patrolling the bus stop and asked about the Community Improvement Districts. That conversation prompted him to walk across the street and fill out an application. The rest, as the saying goes, is history.

“I like how much all of Downtown is progressing since I started in 2006, including the Power & Light District, Sprint Center and the Streetcar,” Williams said. “It’s great to see how the Streetcar has brought so many people to Downtown and the River Market.”

Williams enjoys his work with the CIDs, particularly meeting people and working outdoors.

“I like interacting with people, and helping them find where they need to go,” Williams said. “There’s something about working in the fresh air and the changing of the seasons that makes this job interesting all the time.”

“I’ve never been a lazy person and I have always wanted to do things that make a difference.”

Art Chatman

Art Chatman began his career with the CID as a Public Safety Ambassador in 2005. In 2013,  he was promoted to manage the Downtown Council-run Department of Motor Vehicles office at 615 E. 13th Street for a year. Chatman returned to the DCID as a Safety Ambassador Captain in 2014 and was promoted to Supervisor in 2015 before becoming the CID’s Landscape Supervisor.

Chatman, who was a barber before coming to the CID, still has his barber’s license. “I still cut hair on the side,” Chatman said, “and I’m looking to own my own barber shop someday.”

Chatman says he really likes the family feel of the CID.

“Once you get in with the CID,” he said, “you really don’t want to go anywhere else.” “The only job better than this would be a professional fisherman,” he added.

Chatman is impressed with the revitalization of Downtown and the River Market. he enjoys seeing how they are flourishing and knowing that the small part that he has played as a CID Ambassador to help make it happen.

“It is really hard to remember what it was even like when I first started back in 2005,” Chatman  said.

Click here to learn more about the Downtown and River Market CIDs.

 

 

 

CID Ambassadors: staffing the BIG show(s) in Downtown

Marvin Williams, CID Public Maintenance Ambassador Supervisor, patrols the grounds of Celebration at the Station during the annual Memorial Day weekend event that drew about 50,000 guests.

It may come as no surprise that the Community Improvement District (CID) Ambassadors are charged with providing a strong and comforting presence in the Central Business District and the River Market seven days a week. But did you know they also work that front lines at some of the major events in Downtown?

In just the last few weeks, CID Ambassadors chalked up more than 800 hours of work over three days at two of the summer’s biggest shows over Memorial Day weekend – the Celebration at the Station at Union Station AND the KC Jazz & Heritage Festival at 18th & Vine.

“Memorial Day weekend stretches us quite a bit, but the CID Ambassadors have a long and proud tradition of providing security and trash collection services at the major, holiday weekend attractions,” said Mark Rowlands, CID director.

CID Ambassadors – visible to the right of the stage – delivered public safety and maintenance services throughout the KC Jazz & Heritage Festival over Memorial Day weekend.

Ambassadors have performed their extra duties at Celebration since 2010. They have been a part of the new Jazz & Heritage Festival and previous Rhythm & Ribs jazz festivals since 2011.

Rowlands said the CID “bumble bees” routinely patrol the Central Library, River Market, City Market, and Ride KC and KC Streetcar stops, along with key intersections, streets, parking lots and special events, welcoming more than 75,000 workers, 24,000 residents and 25 million visitors to Downtown each year.

Ambassadors serve as the first point of contact for emergency needs, and help to maintain order and to deter crime through their consistent coverage and visibility. Maintaining valuable partnerships with the Kansas City Missouri Police Department (KCPD) and other law enforcement agencies helps to sustain low crime levels in Downtown.

 

Safety Escort Service available daily from CID Ambassadors

CID Ambassadors provide free Safety Escort services seven days a week to Downtown workers, residents or visitors.Community Improvement District (CID) Ambassadors are dedicated to providing a strong and comforting presence in the Central Business District and River Market seven days a week.

“The ‘bumble bees’ patrol the Central Library, Ride KC and KC Streetcar stops, the City Market, 18th & Vine, key intersections, streets, parking lots and special events welcoming more than 80,000 workers, 24,000 residents and 25 million visitors every year,” said Mark Rowlands, director of the CIDs.

And, they provide personal, safety escort service upon request.

Safety Ambassadors provide assistance through our Safety Escort service by walking residents, employees and visitors in the Downtown area to and from their car and workplace or residence. The CIDs provide this service between the hours of 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.

“While the Downtown area is statistically safer in the terms of crimes against individuals than other places in the City, the CID Safety Ambassadors are committed to helping anyone feel more comfortable walking the sidewalks at any time during the day,” Rowlands said.

“Besides, the Ambassadors have outstanding personalities and the conversations are sure to be polite, positive and interesting.”

The CIDs have logged nearly 8,000 Safety Escorts since the Downtown CID was launched in 2003, including nearly 1,600 last year alone.

To request this free public service, call the CID dispatch at 816-421-5243 during office hours, or 816-820-3475 during evenings or early mornings.

 

CIDs leverage PIAC funds to build & grow healthy neighborhoods

The Downtown and River Market Community Improvement Districts are committed to growing Clean, Safe and Green neighborhoods in Downtown KC.

 

While Clean & Safe has long been the mantra of the urban Community Improvement Districts, they have been joined in recent years by Green, which represents a commitment to beautifying Downtown and the River Market.

Green takes roots in large and small patches of Kansas City’s urban corridors and is nurtured by the green thumbs of the CID Landscape Ambassadors, who focus their attention on flowers, trees and streetscapes.

The Green initiative – now in its eighth year – is made possible by a partnership with the City of Kansas City, Missouri, which awards Public Improvements Advisory Committee (PIAC) funds to the CIDs to make these improvements to the urban landscape.

PIAC has awarded $2.25 million to the DCID and RMCID ($175,000 and $75,000 per year, respectively) over the course of the last eight years to fund these improvements.

“Our Green efforts represent great partnership with the City, a lot of hard work and a complete labor of love for the CID Landscape Ambassadors,” said Mark Rowlands, director of the CIDs. “All of the time, money and effort is dedicated to the beautification of Downtown and the River Market for residents, employees and visitors.”

The CID PIAC Scope of Services grid (below) illustrates the volume of improvements made over the years by the Downtown and River Market Landscape Ambassadors:

 

 

 

Park U. presents lifelong learning for those 50+ in Downtown

A new series of lifelong learning classes for people ages 50+, Shaping Your Futurehas taken flight in Downtown Kansas City, thanks to Park University and Coming of Age KC.

“If you are age 50+ and wondering ‘What’s Next?’, this is the workshop for you.  It is not about financial planning…it is about you and your personal plan for your future that is meaningful, fulfilling and rewarding,” said Kay Barnes, senior academic advisor for Park University and former Kansas City mayor. She co-facilitates this special program with Sandra Mellinger, CEO of Coming of Age KC.

The next flight of Shaping Your Future workshops begins on Wednesday, May 24! To reserve your space, see below.

“Participants will learn how to fuse their passions, interests, skills and experience to achieve goals and to engage in a future which is exciting and interesting,” Mellinger said.

The next flight of workshops will begin Wednesday, May 24 at the Park University Downtown Campus, 911 Main St., 3rd floor (aka, Park on 3). Space is limited, so reservations may be made by contacting Mellinger at comingofagekc@gmail.com.

Early bird fee is $175, paid in full one week prior to each start date; thereafter, fee is $195.  Fee is non-refundable.

CIDs add high-tech tools to Ambassadors’ daily rounds

CID Public Safety Ambassador Dominick Trent enters Downtown Daily Log data on his CID-issued smart tablet.

The Downtown Community Improvement District has gone high tech.

Beginning just a few weeks ago, every Safety Ambassador was issued a smart tablet to fill out their Daily Log reports replacing the paper log sheets they have used since the beginning Downtown CID in 2003.

According to Mark Rowlands, director of the CIDs, the technology will allow supervisors and management to review all Ambassadors activities in real time, as well as produce reports faster. The CID Dispatcher will also be able to see where each Ambassador is (while they are on  the clock) to expedite nearby resources to incidents within the District more efficiently.

“We are excited about bringing this technology into the hands of the CID Ambassadors,” Rowlands said. “The tablets will provide more tools for the Ambassadors to use as they patrol the sidewalks, parks and the Streetcar.”

The DCID is partnering with EB Systems, a Kansas City-based company, to design a reporting system that fits the organization’s mission and services. EB Systems is a technology company with expertise in Real-Time Location and reporting, workforce management and automation using their eBeacons mobile app.

The smart tablet system was introduced as a pilot project with the CID Streetcar Ambassadors about six months ago and quickly became a favorite.

In addition, the app has quick access to KCATA bus schedule, KC Streetcar arrivals and the VisitKC website.

For more information on the Community Improvement District, contact Rowlands at mark@downtownkc.org or visit the CID website.

 

CID Ambassadors ride the streetcar rails daily in Downtown

Streetcar Ambassadors (from left) Oscar Palacios, Ciera Edmonds and Avery Williams ride the streetcar daily in their roles as Community Improvement District Ambassadors. 

Ambassadors from the Downtown and River Market Community Improvement Districts (CID) are nearing the first anniversary of staffing the KC Streetcar, as it travels the two-mile route through Downtown seven days a week.

Three full-time CID Ambassadors began riding the streetcar – covering three shifts per day – when the KC Streetcar began operations on May 6, 2016. Since that opening day, the streetcar has drawn nearly 2 million rides from Downtown residents, workers and visitors.

“The Streetcar Ambassadors have been essential to the success of the KC Streetcar in our first year of operations,” said Tom Gerend, streetcar executive director. “They have proven to be great assets to the streetcar, as well as warm and friendly hosts for riders and guests.”

The three-person Streetcar Ambassador staff includes Ciera Edmonds, Oscar Palacios and Avery Williams.

“We are delighted with the partnership between the CIDs and the KC Streetcar Authority,” said Mark Rowlands, CID director. “The streetcars have proven themselves to be very effective at drawing guests to Downtown, and the Ambassadors are demonstrating how to help our guests feel welcome, safe and secure.”

Rowlands explained that Downtown and River Market CIDs are committed to providing a safe environment for the passengers of the Kansas City Streetcar and the surrounding public.

The Ambassadors will definitely be on duty this Saturday, as the KC Streetcar celebrates its first birthday with celebratory events from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Union Station streetcar station. The public is invited to attend, and enjoy free cake, refreshments, games, music and a hands-on truck-a-palooza exhibit for kids. And, of course, an opportunity to ride the streetcar!

The CIDs employ three Ambassadors to patrol active streetcars in order to provide an enjoyable environment. Such services will include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  • Serving as a friendly, helpful source of information and guidance for passengers regarding local amenities, geography, commercial opportunities, residential communities and history;
  • Identifying and addressing public safety issues on the streetcars and stations;
  • Coordinating communications between the KCSA and its representatives;
  • Identifying and reporting to KCSA public nuisances and maintenance issues; and
  • Graffiti, poster and handbill removal on streetcars and stations

“By providing these services in a polite and courteous manner, we support an atmosphere that allows an enjoyable and safe experience for passengers,” Rowland said. “The is a classic win-win opportunity for the KC Streetcar and the Ambassadors.”

 

 

 

Clean, Safe, Green: CID Ambassadors

Safe. Clean. Green. These three words not only the mantra of the Downtown and River Market Community Improvement District (CID) Ambassadors, they also describe the foundation of Downtown Kansas City.

The CIDs are private, nonprofit organizations that are dedicated to maintaining a clean, green, safe and economically competitive Central Business District (CBD) and River Market. The mission of the CIDs is accomplished daily by a team of maintenance, horticulture and safety ambassadors dedicated to Downtown, and its employers, workers, residents and visitors.

The DCID Board of Directors met earlier this week for their annual board meeting. In addition to thinking their outgoing board chair, Pamela Hahn, 1212 McGee Building, the board approved its new slate of officers for 2015-16. New officers include:

  • Chair: Kathie McBride, MC Realty Group
  • Vice Chair: Mike Klamm, CBRE
  • Secretary: Chris Erdley, Tower Properties
  • Treasurer: Jared Campbell, Signature Personal Insurance

The CIDs are managed by the Downtown Council, and are considered to be the cornerstone of the renaissance of Downtown Kansas City.

KC is ranked among the top 10 downtowns in the U.S., which points to a “walkable and livable downtown” – the kind of urban experience that simply wouldn’t be possible without the CIDs and their dedicated “yellow jacket” Ambassadors.

This blog post introduces a weekly series that will introduce you to the Ambassadors and the remarkable work they perform every day in Downtown KC.

 

 

CID, PIAC team up to repair infrastructure in River Market

The City of Kansas City, Missouri and its Public Improvements Advisory Committee (PIAC) have built a great and productive great partnership with the River Market Community Improvement District (RMCID).

Since the fall of 2009, RMCID Ambassadors have been repairing River Market infrastructure, thanks to $300,000 in PIAC funding. PIAC dollars are earmarked for a series of projects that can be managed and maintained by the Ambassadors themselves.

 

Each year, Ambassadors have been repairing subsided pavers, installing new landscaping, repainting fire hydrants and pedestrian light poles, fixing damaged tree wells and purchasing and installing site furnishings such as benches, trash receptacles and above-ground planters. The RMCID is currently in its fifth year making infrastructure improvements to the district.

In the first four years of PIAC support, the $300,000 was used by Ambassadors to:

  • Repair more than 240 square feet of subsided pavers
  • Install about 2,400 square feet of new landscaping
  • Repair 48 damaged tree wells
  • Repaint 48 pedestrian lights
  • Repaint 48 fire hydrants
  • Purchase and install 29 new Streetscape Master Plan-approved trash receptacles
  • Purchase and install 14 new Streetscape Master Plan-approved benches
  • Purchase and install 34 new Streetscape Master Plan-approved above-ground planters

The RMCID Ambassadors have also purchased and installed (XX) decorative tree enclosures on Walnut, Fifth and Delaware streets in the River Market.

“The design of the tree enclosures complements the comfortable atmosphere that the district enjoys. The enclosures were also designed to be easy to install and maintain,” said Mark Rowlands, director of the River Market and Downtown CIDs. “Their simple design enables the RMCID Ambassadors to install the enclosures with just a few tools and minimal disturbance to surrounding infrastructure.”

RMCID celebrates anniversary; steps up in role in public improvements

Employees of the River Market Community Improvement District took time out recently to celebrate a major milestone in the life of Downtown Kansas City.

The Downtown CID celebrated its 10 anniversary in April — a decade of clean and safe leadership in Downtown. The Downtown and River Market CID Ambassadors celebrated in style on Friday, April 19, as board members and Downtown Council colleagues acknowledged the accomplishments of both CIDs at the Annual Party at the Central Public Library.

“Downtown – both the Central Business District and the River Market – is definitely a different place from 10 years ago when the first yellow barrel hit the streets, the first graffiti tag came down and the first Bumblebee greeted that lonely Downtown employee with a friendly smile. And Downtown is definitely a better place,” said Mark Rowlands, CID director.

The CID Ambassadors are widely acknowledged for serving as the start of Downtown’s revitalization, as they began working daily to make Downtown clean and safe for residents, employees and visitors.

That work continues to accelerate in the River Market. Just last year, the TIF Commission named the RMCID as its developer for public improvements in the River Market District. The RMCID will manage the use of $825,000 over the next 10 years to make improvements.

“The TIF funds will prove to be a great investment in the health and vitality of the River Market,” Rowlands said. “The public improvements that will stem from these dollars will make the district even more attractive for business and residential growth.”

In January, the RMCID sought proposals from contractors to repair approximately 1,500 linear feet of damaged curbs, 7,200 square feet of concrete sidewalks and 6,400 square feet of paver sidewalks from 3rd Street to Independence Avenue and Grand Avenue to Wyandotte Street.

Rowlands said that Musselman and Hall Contractors have been selected as the contractor. Work will begin in June on the selected areas, once the permitting process has been completed with the City.

“The RMCID has met with the City to coordinate repair work so as to not conflict with utility relocation and track construction for the new Downtown streetcar, which is due to begin operations in about two years,” Rowlands said.

The RMCID is also in the process of working with Pro Circuit Incorporated on a proposal to retrofit all 176 high-intensity discharge, or tungsten, pedestrian lights in the River Market to LED. The total cost for the retrofit will cost approximately $47,000, but will be eligible for about $23,000 in rebates from KCP&L. The LED retrofit will result in close to $10,000 in energy savings annually. The LED lamps have a 100,000-hour life which will also reduce maintenance costs.

And, while the TIF funds will provide the RMCID with a lengthy list of projects, that will not impede the Ambassadors’ daily duties to keep the River Market clean, safe and green.

“The River Market CID Public Safety Ambassadors continue to be on the front lines to ensure a safe Downtown community, while the Public Maintenance Ambassadors remain dedicated to making our streets clean and inviting,” Rowlands said.

Gold Star for CID Safety Ambassador Keith Libeer

Libeer, Keith_CTA Gold Star Award

Keith Libeer (center), CID Public Safety Ambassador, accepted the Certified Tourism Ambassador Gold Star Award during the Kansas City Convention and Visitor Association’s Annual Meeting. Presenting the award were Rick Hughes (left), KCCVA president, and Bill George, Kansas City Transportation Group CEO.

Keith Libeer, Community Improvement District (CID) Public Safety Ambassador, was recognized with the Certified Tourism Ambassador Gold Star Award during the Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association’s (KCCVA) Annual Meeting on May 2.

The Gold Star Award honors a Certified Tourism Ambassador who demonstrates exemplary customer service skills and a great knowledge of Kansas City and its attractions and who has worked to promote the ideals of the Heartland Tourism Ambassador program.

“Since 2004, Keith has been providing unsurpassed service to visitors and residents as a safety ambassador,” said Mark Rowlands, CID director. “His knowledge of the district, attractions and even bus routes continues to inspire those around him. His friendly, easy going demeanor along with his extensive knowledge exemplifies his pride and genuine desire to make every visitor encounter memorable.”

“It’s really no surprise that Keith was recognized for his work as a CID Ambassador,” Sean O’Byrne, CID executive director, said. “Keith takes his work as an Ambassador very seriously and always has a lot of fun doing it. We are grateful to have him as part of our team and proud that he has been recognized by the KCCVA.”

Mayor Sly James welcomed nearly 600 people from the tourism and hospitality industry at the KCCVA’s annual meeting at the Kansas City Convention Center Grand Ballroom. The luncheon kicked off National Travel & Tourism Week (May 4 – 12) and celebrated the importance of meetings and meeting planners.

 

DCID celebrates milestone anniversary

 

Employees of the Downtown Community Improvement Districts took time out recently to celebrate a major milestone in the life of Downtown Kansas City. The DCID celebrated its 10 anniversary this month — a decade of clean and safe leadership in Downtown. The CID  Ambassadors celebrated in style on Friday, April 19, as board members and Downtown Council colleagues acknowledged the accomplishments of the CIDs at the Annual Party at the Central Public Library.

The Annual Party is one of three events the DCID sponsors yearly to acknowledge the hard work the Ambassadors perform every day through every kind of Midwestern weather. This year, the DCID  had even more reason to celebrate after Ambassadors contributed to another successful month of March Madness with four collegiate basketball tournaments — NCAA regionals, Big 12 conference,  NAIA nationals and MIAA conference  — over three weeks at Sprint Center and Municipal Auditorium.

“Downtown is definitely a different place  from 10 years ago when the first yellow barrel hit the streets, the first graffiti tag came down and the first Bumblebee greeted that lonely Downtown employee with  a friendly smile. And Downtown is definitely a better place,” said Mark Rowlands, CID director. The CID Ambassadors represent the beginning of Downtown’s revitalization, as they began working daily to make Downtown clean and safe for residents, employees and visitors.

Buildings that once stood derelict have been converted into housing or new office space, the Sprint Center and the Power and Light District sprung to life, H&R Block moved back to the neighborhood and brought a lot of new friends with them, and the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts changed the way the world sees Kansas City. Legoland Discovery Center and and the Sea Life Aquarium are here now to entertain the kid in all of us as Google Fiber is spreading across the city. And soon, Kansas City will have a streetcar again after nearly 50 years.

“Call us biased, but we like to think that the DCID had a lot to do with this incredible transformation,” Rowlands said.

The DCID Public Safety Ambassadors have been on the front lines to ensure a safe Downtown community while the Public Maintenance Ambassadors have been dedicated to making our streets clean and inviting. Below are some of the statistical highlights that have been achieved by the DCID Ambassadors over the last ten years.

  • Citizen assists, directions & special events        
75,548
  • Trespass, drug activity & public drinking interventions        
68,321
  • Homeless contacts & referrals
46,597
  • Aggressive panhandler interventions
12,160
  • Safety escorts
6,089
  • Citizen & merchant introductions
6,813
  • Police arrests/assistance & medical assists
3,373
  • Trash bags collected
94,513
  • Graffiti tags removed
9,875