By Kevin Collison
The “bumble bees” who’ve come to symbolize the greater commitment to the safety and maintenance of downtown have taken on a new role–the frontline in sanitizing transit stations and other public spaces during the Covid-19 crisis.
“We want our team to be part of the fight against the spread of the coronavirus and Covid-19,” said Sean O’Byrne, executive director of the Downtown and River Market Community Improvement Districts.
“We have been in contact with the International Downtown Association and local health officials and have implemented all protocols to keep our Ambassadors safe and help slow the progression of the virus.”
Ambassador is how the Downtown CID likes to refer to the men and women wearing the familiar yellow-and-black uniforms of its workforce.
Since 2003, they’ve been instrumental to a renewed commitment by the private sector to the safety and cleanliness of greater downtown.
O’Byrne said about 60 Ambassadors have been working to clean and sanitize such public spaces as bus and streetcar stops as well as assisting with making sure downtown remains safe during its Covid hibernation.
“We’ll be the eyes and ears for the public by keeping our guys out on the street,” he said. “I think it’s making a difference.
“They’re a calming presence for people to see them, it gives them a sense of normalcy.”
Normally, the members of the Downtown and River Market CID staff pick up 30- to 45 bags of trash each day. With downtown activity slowed dramatically because of the Covid quarantine, that number has dropped to six bags daily.
“We want to have downtown and the River Market in a good position so we can bounce back in a quick manner when things improve,” O’Byrne said.
The Main Street and Broadway community improvement districts operated by Midtown KC Now also have their staff deployed to keep public areas as sanitary as possible during the current Covid crisis.
“Our maintenance guys are disinfecting crosswalk buttons, the bus shelters and BikeKC racks,” said Stan Henry, the manager of the Midtown KC Now community improvement districts.
“We’re following all the CDC (Center for Disease Control) guidelines on precautions.”
(Editor’s note: Beginning in December 2019, CityScene KC has become a paid subscription publication)
Don’t miss any downtown news, sign up for our weekly CityScene KC email review here.