While city government certainly plays a crucial role in developing Downtown, the reality is that with each new Mayor and City Council, the City’s priorities change. With so many areas to address, no one administration can accomplish everything. That is why a Downtown organization with strong ties to the business and residential community and city leadership is crucial to provide Downtown the continuity it needs to address safety and cleanliness. The Downtown District has the ability to have that “horizon,” understanding what the stakeholders truly need and how the different components work together to help a city achieve improvements year after year. The Downtown District can take on long-term projects and ensure their continued success.
For many, Downtown is considered Houston’s front door, and first impressions are everything. Created in 1992, the Downtown Street Team may perform what we see as simple tasks, such as picking up litter and trash and removing graffiti, but they are extremely impactful.
By taking care of those “little things” we provide an environment that people can take pride in. Without that, no matter what else you do to improve a downtown area – new buildings, artwork, infrastructure, etc. – people will still turn away. We've seen and heard from people who have returned to downtown Houston remark at the difference they’ve noticed from even 10 years ago – simply put, the difference is like night and day.
In addition to our Downtown Street Team, the Downtown Public Safety Guide Program, launched in 2011, has quickly become a mainstay in our Downtown community. Development of the Downtown Public Safety Guide Program came through focus group meetings with various stakeholders in downtown, including residential, commercial, corporate, arts and hospitality. The Guides focus on busy pedestrian areas to identify and monitor on-street activity and work with property and business owners, Downtown Street Teams, HPD and others to help resolve problems. They also interact with the homeless population in distress connecting them with social services and provide pedestrians with general information and directions within downtown.
Our goal is to take the streetscape environment to the next level, and the partnership with Block By Block will allow us to do so. By making both programs more efficient and visible, the Downtown District will be better positioned to respond to the growing needs and demands of Downtown stakeholders of the future.