July 07, 2015
If you’re a resident of the District, or visit regularly, you’ve probably seen our Ambassador team. Riding in the orange SID mobile, checking out the street scene, they do a lot more for our neighborhood than you’re probably aware of. Check out what a day in the life is like for our Ambassador team.
Operations Manager Greg Feldman gets up for work, ties his shoes, and heads to the office just like any other person starting out their day. However, for him and the rest of the Short North Arts District Ambassadors, what happens when they get to the office is a little more up in the air.
“In the mornings, I typically will do trash pickup or landscaping work,” he said of his morning routine. “Then, I will work on any projects currently in progress. This could include graffiti removal, painting projects, event set-up or take-down, and safety patrols.”
Taking care of a neighborhood as vibrant and alive as the Short North Arts District takes a lot of hard work and a lot of being able to stay on your toes. From taking care of landscaping, cleaning up the streets from the night before, or dealing with thefts at local businesses or security concerns along High Street, our Ambassadors are the best resource for the everyday concerns in our District.
Greg is an Army veteran, making his transition to maintaining security over a neighborhood an easy one. Also an armed forces veteran, Ambassador Kim Young got his introduction to the District over 20 years ago, as a letter carrier for the Postal Service. According to Kim, a normal day as an Ambassador gives you a lot of variety. “From young professionals to panhandlers, you see everyone and everything here,” he said.
However, what keeps them coming back to work is universal. Both Greg and Kim, as well as Josh Gladden, Ross Meyer, and Operations Supervisor Newton O’Neil all say their days get made by their conversation with shop keepers and the thanks they receive from locals. And no question, they definitely deserve it. Newton knows the name of every neighborhood dog (and dog parents, too), and keeps treats on him in case he sees a familiar snout.
Our Ambassadors are the go-to guys for the entire neighborhood, and it’s an easy reason why: they do a lot of stuff. They keep the area clean and keep an eye on landscaping projects and make sure the plants don’t get thirsty. Finding and removing graffiti from buildings and maintaining the District’s murals, they also do. They set-up and break-down for Gallery Hop every month (easy) as well as provide extra security help in the neighborhood during HighBall, one of the largest costume parties in the nation (less easy). When businesses get into trouble with shoplifters, the Ambassadors are first on the scene, helping track down culprits and alerting the rest of the neighborhood.
It is work, but it’s not just a job. Working for a neighborhood requires a lot more flexibility and character than a normal business. It’s a place where art is happening, where business is happening, and it’s someone’s backyard, with more and more people discovering this is the place they want to call home in the city. This is the place where life is happening, and the team is here to make sure that is it as clean and safe as possible. Like most of the Ambassador Team, Newton and Josh are also armed forces veterans, and their training certainly comes in handy when taking care of the neighborhood.
“Our constant goal is to provide a safe and enjoyable experience to all visitors of the Short North,” said Feldman. “We take a lot of pride when we complete a project, and then get to see people enjoy the results of our work. It’s a mix of providing directions, advice on parking, and addressing vagrancy and safety issues.”
Working hard for the neighborhood, its residents, and its businesses, the Ambassadors are here for you. They’re easy to spot, easy to talk to, and if you’ve got a question or a problem, they’re here to help. So, say ‘hi’, say ‘thanks’, and come dive into the neighborhood.
For visitors unfamiliar with the area, the Short North Arts District is concentrated along High Street between King Avenue to the North, and Nationwide Boulevard to the South. For more information on transit and parking, look here. For more information in general about the Short North Arts District, look here.
– Tyler Wilson