First Things

Something Friendly

Say hello to downtown ambassadors

Beginning in May, a small army of blue-shirted men and women took to the streets to make downtown Kalamazoo safer, cleaner and friendlier.

The downtown ambassadors are full-time employees who patrol the downtown with an eye on safety, cleanliness and maintenance needs while engaging with visitors and businesses. Ambassadors’ duties include cleaning up trash and weeds, power washing and graffiti removal, reporting maintenance issues, escorting people to cars and providing information on downtown.

Downtown Kalamazoo Partnership has contracted with Block by Block, a Kentucky-based organization, to oversee the ambassador program. Block by Block provides ambassador training and management for downtowns in 120 cities across the country, including Grand Rapids; South Bend, Indiana; Austin, Texas; Toledo, Ohio; and Louisville, Kentucky.

A team of five ambassadors are connected via two-way radio and are on duty downtown from 7 a.m.–3 p.m. Sunday and Monday, 7 a.m.–7 p.m. Tuesday–Thursday and 7 a.m.–11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

To reach the ambassadors to request a service or report a problem, call 568-5402 or send an email to