Downtown OKC Partnership has contracted with Block by Block, a provider of street-level services — cleanliness, safety and hospitality — for the districts under their purview. The new contract consolidates work done by multiple vendors in previous arrangements under one comprehensive, full-service agreement.
“We’re calling it the Green Team,” said Danielle Dodson, the communications coordinator for Downtown OKC. “The new agreement also includes a homeless outreach coordinator — something we’ve needed — as well as a full team for street-level services to cover the entire 1.5 square miles.”
Downtown OKC has operational responsibility for six of the metro’s districts: Arts, Automobile Alley, Bricktown, City Center, Deep Deuce, and Midtown. The new team will wear recognizable clothing, and all are cross-trained in hospitality, so in addition to jobs like sweeping curbs, emptying trash cans and welfare checks, they’ll also be able to assist visitors and tourists with city information and directions.
“Our budget has been about $900,000 annually for the old services that didn’t include the comprehensive package, and we lacked data to inform our tenants and businesses where their money was going,” Dodson said. “Every Green Team member will have a tablet where they can input data directly, and that information will be compiled so that we can provide much needed numbers.”
The program went into effect March 1, and already Green Team members have swept nearly 5,000 curblines, collected 2,800 bags of trash and removed 1,210 instances of graffiti, the latter of which wasn’t covered under the old agreement. Nor were the 165 wellness checks they’ve accomplished so far. Hospitality assistance has been rendered to nearly 5,000 people downtown, too.
“One of the reasons we considered a new program was that we wanted our contractors to have the capacity to grow with us,” said Phi Nguyen, director of finance and administration for Downtown OKC.
In addition to the data collection capabilities, the public can access the Green Team via a dedicated phone number: 405-240-1944. Callers can both request assistance and report issues, which makes the team even more responsive than previously. The contract came after a detailed needs assessment followed by a customized services recommendation. The contract’s term is indefinite, but Dodson said it would be reviewed annually.