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  • Mark Baratelli, Editor

Downtown Ambassadors Will Bring Safety and Hospitality to Visitors

Ambassador programs are used throughout the country to promote hospitality and provide additional community policing. Orlando is getting a 2 year pilot program.


Photo Credit: Block by Block

Orlando City Council voted on an item May 29th to create a downtown Ambassador Program. The contract with Block by Block for downtown ambassador services is for an initial term of two years in an annual estimated amount of $725,000.


Operated in partnership by Block by Block and the City's Community Redevelopment Agency, the Ambassador Program will provide a direct, on-the-street connection to safety escorts for workers and residents, helping visitors navigate their way to one of our many venues for an event, connecting our most vulnerable individuals to critical social services or curbing aggressive panhandling.


City Staff was receiving increasing feedback from businesses and stakeholders expressing concerns related to downtown and felt a pilot ambassador program would help identify, assess, prioritize and respond to these concerns.


The program aims to have Ambassadors on the streets of Downtown Orlando this fall.


The scope of work provides for ambassadors to circulate throughout the Downtown Community Redevelopment Area pursuant to a deployment schedule set by CRA staff providing safety, hospitality, and other ambassador related services as outlined in the scope of work. The deployment schedule can be adjusted to accommodate special events, holidays, inclement weather and other circumstances. The CRA staff will have daily interaction with an on-site Operations Manager provided by Block by Block who oversees the entire Ambassador Program.


The DTOutlook specifically includes the CRA’s implementation of Downtown “Clean and Safe” programming, including a Downtown Ambassador program as a way to make the Downtown experience easier and more satisfying. The program will also help improve the perception of lack of safety noted in the DTOutlook through the use of this community policing innovation.


This program further supports our Project DTO efforts as one of the recommendations included making the downtown experience easier and more satisfying by supporting additional downtown “clean and safe” programming.


The above deployment schedule is presented as an initial baseline of services and is expected to evolve as new pedestrian usage patterns are identified and the impact of events is fully understood. Block by Block and the CRA will collaborate on a frequent basis, not less than monthly, to evaluate upcoming events and making scheduling adjustments to best allocate resources to maximize visibility and engagement.

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