Downtown Ambassador Pilot Program Embarks to Proactively Curb Violence and Create Welcoming Environment in Downtown Cedar Rapids

May 30, 2019

A safe, clean and welcoming environment is paramount to the success of Downtown Cedar Rapids. Disturbance calls and recordable incidents in the downtown area have trended upwards in the last three years. A new, innovative pilot program embarks in June to proactively curb violence downtown and ensure that all feel safe in the district.

The Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, via the Downtown Self-Supported Municipal Improvement District, Willis Dady Homeless Services, the City of Cedar Rapids and the Cedar Rapids Downtown Library are teaming up to create the Downtown Ambassador pilot program. Downtown Ambassadors will work throughout the district, but primarily in and near Greene Square and the Ground Transportation Center. Duties of Downtown Ambassadors will center foremost on:

  • Creating a respectful and peaceful environment within the downtown area
  • Identifying potential conflicts and engaging in pre-conflict resolution
  • Acting as a liaison between disputing parties
  • Providing peer support to individuals and/or groups
Secondary responsibilities of Downtown Ambassadors include picking up trash and recycling, reminding individuals and/or groups of rules in Greene Square, and calling emergency services if needed.

Downtown Ambassadors will be trained in First Aid/CPR, Naloxone handling and use, de-escalation tactics and mental health first aid.

This pilot program will run from early June through Labor Day. The program’s founding partners will meet regularly to assess the success of the program and problem-solve along the way.

The Downtown Ambassador pilot program is an example of community partners coming together to foster a friendly, welcoming and inclusive area in the heart of our city for people from all walks of life to enjoy.

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