Melvin Wright and Amarie Starr visit Lee Bank, one of the program sponsors, last year.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Friendly pairs of downtown ambassadors have been in Pittsfield since July 1, offering approachable sources of directions, information, and assistance for residents, visitors, business owners, and the general public during the summer.
This year, thanks to the sponsorship of the program by the City of Pittsfield, Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, Lee Bank, and Pittsfield Garden Tour, Downtown Pittsfield Inc.'s ambassadors will be on the streets at peak times for visitors, through Labor Day.
The Downtown Pittsfield Ambassador Program is a partnership between the business group and the Pittsfield Police Department. The program addresses increased visitor presence during the summer and helps to relieve the demand on police presence downtown. It is based on similar models implemented in other cities around the country. This year, the program will focus on downtown's response to COVID-19 by providing masks to people that do not have them, picking up trash, and helping guide foot traffic to places to eat and shop.
This summer, there will be four ambassadors: two returning are returning, Melvin Wright and Amarie Starr, and two are new, Alex Desrochers and Liam Tremlett.
Their job is twofold focusing on concierge service and safety. The ambassadors are walking concierges. They are a welcoming, information sharing resource helping visitors and residents find parking, offering directions and wayfinding, and providing information on dining and shopping.
The ambassadors are also trained and certified by the Pittsfield Police in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, automated external defibrillator use, first aid, and public safety protocol. Ambassadors observe street activity and, when needed, call for assistance via police radios, with which they are equipped.
Downtown Ambassadors walk in pairs along the downtown loop donning distinctive uniforms identifying them as official representatives of Pittsfield and greet everyone with a friendly hello.
The goal of the Downtown Pittsfield Ambassador Program is to create a welcoming downtown environment for all by delivering on DPI's mission to maintain a clean, safe, and friendly district. Their primary focus will be on hospitality – giving directions and parking information, as well as information on things to do, places to eat, and where to shop. Ambassadors will also act as eyes and ears for public safety, social service partners, and public works by educating, assisting, and reporting on various needs and issues.
The mission of Downtown Pittsfield Inc. is to foster the ongoing growth and vitality of downtown Pittsfield through vision, leadership, and advocacy and to position downtown as the creative and business hub of the Berkshires for the benefit of all.
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Pittsfield City Council to Discuss Homeless Solutions
By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council on Tuesday sent a group of petitions regarding the city's homeless population to the subcommittee on Public Health and Safety.
The three petitions ask officials to consider measures to safeguard the homeless and begin a conversation about homelessness within the city limits.
"I am glad we are having this discussion, and I look forward to hearing it," Councilor at Large Peter White said. "This has been an issue here for a long time and having people live in the park is not a long terms solution."
Late into the six-hour meeting Tuesday, councilors came to the agreement that although Connell is spending much of his time quarantining out of state, his primary residence is still in Pittsfield.
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