Pilot program aims at keeping downtown Indy clean

Anti-Graffiti ordinance could result in fines

An ordinance targeted at curbing graffiti could fine property owners who fail to cover it up. Ann Keil reports.

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — A new program aims at enhancing visitors’ experience in downtown Indianapolis.

Downtown Indy, Inc. launched a pilot Street Ambassador Program to clean sidewalks and public spaces in the Wholesale District. The program was created in response to concern about safety and lack of cleanliness in the Downtown area, largely brought on by those experiencing homelessness and panhandlers.

“Downtown is challenged by an inconsistent experience in its public realm – dirty sidewalks, graffiti and occasionally intimidating street behaviors that detract from Downtown’s overall cleanliness,” said Sherry Seiwert, president and CEO of Downtown Indy, Inc. “Filth must be addressed, and no business should get complacent with its own cleaning standards. Our Downtown deserves better.”

Through the program, six street ambassadors will be hired by Healthy Veterans and Families. These veterans will get a temporary full-time position to remove trash from the sidewalks and address grime through spot power washing. They will also remove stickers from street poles and signs along with graffiti.

“Restoring Downtown’s beauty and maintaining the city’s core through the hard work of the Street Ambassador team is evident from just a few weeks of dedicated cleaning,” Seiwert said. “We’re thrilled to employ these Ambassadors, many of whom were once homeless themselves. There are multiple benefits of this pilot to improve our community and make it stronger.”

If the program goes well and they raise more money, the pilot program will expand to include the entire Mile Square.

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