If you’ve ever seen the clean streets of downtown Chattanooga and wondered who takes care of them, just look to the folks in orange t-shirts, and you’ll find your answer in the Downtown Chattanooga Alliance.
Executive Director Steve Brookes said River City Co. and P.U.M.A. conducted a feasibility assessment in 2019 to determine if it was the right time to form a Business Improvement District. He added that once the city council approved the district, assessments were taken that year to begin funding + start the program in 2020.
The district covers 276 parcels of land spanning across the Tennessee River to the north, Highway 27 to the west, 11th Street to the south + a combination of Georgia Avenue and Cherry Street to the east. Each property (minus state, federal, and house of worship buildings) pays a “CBID Assessment” each tax season to fund services, amounting to $900,000.
Steve said that $700,000 goes towards the Ambassadors program and its on-street services for cleaning, hospitality, and beautification.
- Clean | Powerwashing, cleaning sidewalks, handling litter and trash, disposing of biohazards + graffiti removal
- Hospitality | Working with visitors to provide information on the area, helping residents, escorting in the rain with umbrellas, helping with events + working with those experiencing homelessness and providing them with resources
- Beautification | Remulching, planting native species, installing + managing flower pots, and repainting areas
- Safety escort | Door to door service Monday-Thursday, 6 a.m.-8 p.m. + Friday-Saturday, 6 a.m.-10 p.m.
- Car help | Jump starting batteries, changing tires + call services for locked cars
Steve added that the team strives to make the services accessible for everyone, whether it’s for residents or visitors, they want to make them feel safe + taken care of on the city streets.
“Safety is a perception and it’s a reality,” Steve said. “Anytime you see that an area is maintained, you’re going to feel more comfortable as a human being.”
The program is seasonal — you can find 10 ambassadors during peak season + seven during non-peak season. Operations Manager Randi Haynes said the diverse team leaves every day knowing they’ve made a difference and have given back to the community.
“Thank an ambassador, just a simple thank you. They’re friendly, they’re approachable, but they’re men and women that work extremely hard and are an incredible team. I really don’t think downtown would know what to do without them.” — Randi Haynes
Note: Services can be requested by calling 423-206-4200 or submitting an online form.