A team of blue- and golden-clad ambassadors will soon hit Downtown Pittsburgh
On Tuesday the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, or PDP, announced that “Golden Triangle Ambassadors” will soon hit the streets of the city's central business district, sporting uniforms of bright blue and gold. They are tasked with making the neighborhood more welcoming, said Jeremy Waldrup, PDP’s president and CEO.
The 11-person squad seeks “to interact with our businesses, our visitors, our residents, and just create a more friendly environment on our streets,” he said. “One of the most important things that we’re going to be asking them to do is just engaging with folks and asking them how they’re doing today and greeting them with a hello.”
Waldrup described the group at various times during an interview as outgoing, gregarious – “a ton of fun … an absolute blast” – and said many are born and raised in Pittsburgh. “They love our city and are excited to share that passion with our stakeholders.”
But Waldrup said the ambassadors will be able to do more than suggest a good place for dessert after a show. They'll stay in touch with businesses and property owners and make regular bike and foot patrols.
Workers and visitors are returning to Downtown, but daily populations remain about 30 percent below pre-pandemic levels, Waldrup said, and that’s been a blow to “street-level vibrancy.”
“When you’re alone on a street, you often feel unsafe, whether or not you are,” he said.
The Golden Triangle Ambassadors will provide more eyes and ears in the area, and help to address concerns about crime. They are “definitely not law enforcement,” Waldrup said, but they can communicate with police when necessary, and will eventually share a building with them Downtown.
However, Waldrup said PDP is very aware that there are many situations where involving police may not be the right response, and that the organization will continue to advocate for other options for outreach to people who need help. The organization already has a three-person outreach team specifically tasked with developing relationships with people and connecting them to social service providers.
The million-dollar annual cost of the Golden Triangle Ambassadors program is covered by the City of Pittsburgh, foundations, and large organizations such as UPMC and Giant Eagle.