Greensboro leaders could soon vote on ambassador program for downtown

Piedmont Triad News

GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — After three years of discussion, Greensboro city leaders could soon approve the creation of a Greensboro ambassador program.

The program is one that is internationally used, especially in large cities where tourism is prominent.

It consists of individuals who ride Segways, or other small mobile transports, around parts of the city to help travelers navigate or find places they can visit.

“Good, hospitable people who can say, ‘how may I be of assistance to you,’ and great you with a smile on their face,” is how Zack Matheny describes these individuals.

The Downtown Greensboro Incorporated president has led the way in trying to introduce this program to the city.

At a city council meeting on Tuesday, the proposal was brought up again for discussion. (Click here for the full council meeting. Ambassador discussion starts at 1:38:00)

In its current form, the program would consist of 15 “ambassadors,” who know the city and would make a starting salary of $15 an hour. The jobs would be full and part-time.

One of the core responsibilities of the group would be walking people to and from locations if they feel uncomfortable, or directing individuals to their desired location.

Local businesses, like Oh, Goodness Baker, sees this as a way to get more tourists into the smaller, or hidden spots around town.

“I think it could be awesome. It’s really difficult, especially right now, to get your name and your brand out there,” owner Jesse Wesselink said. “We’d love more advertisement that we have things tucked away down here at the end. That it’s not just in the middle.”

Ambassadors will act as the “eyes and ears” for the city as well. They will be tasked with helping local businesses when needed, which will include dealing with unruly customers, or administering first-aid if needed.

“Disturbances may happen, or people may not feel safe. GPD shouldn’t be the first people to call, to take them away from something they should be doing. These people will be a small intermediary, before we have to call GPD,” Matheny said.

The city manager’s office is working on a budget proposal for city leaders to vote on to determine if the program is able to be introduced, or is sustainable.

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