BID Board Looking For Vendor To Spiff Up Downtown, Work With Homeless, Gangs, Etc.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

The new board of the Chattanooga Downtown Business Improvement District is seeking a vendor to "achieve the objective of establishing and maintaining a standard for the downtown environment which is consistently clean, hospitable, and safe."

A Request for Proposal has gone out, and the applications are due by Feb. 21.

The vendor will hire uniformed Ambassadors to spiff up downtown and carry out many additional duties, including dealing with the homeless and gang members.

The BID timeline has the vendor on board and services beginning in May.

The board is also set to hire a BID manager. Application for that key position closed last Wednesday. That appointment is expected to be made next month.

The BID board will be operating with $1 million in revenue obtained from assessments on downtown property owners within the district.

The RFP says the vendor that is hired by the Downtown Chattanooga BID will fulfill the requirements outlined in this RFP.

Expectation of Ambassadors

- All Ambassadors working on behalf of the Downtown Chattanooga BID must be highly visible, wearing distinctive uniforms, serving as BID representatives.

- All Ambassadors are expected to be approachable, friendly, knowledgeable, and proactive to assist the public, engage with business owners, downtown employees, residents, visitors, etc. They will provide hospitality services to encourage and welcome visitors and residents alike to enjoy Downtown Chattanooga.

- Whether performing maintenance and/or hospitality related tasks, Ambassadors are expected to communicate in a manner that is clear, courteous, pleasant and welcoming; Ambassadors should be equipped with knowledge about downtown attractions, key points of interest, special events, venues, and activities.

- Ambassadors should be adequately and professionally trained to interact with the public and have the skills and abilities that are pertinent for interacting with community members who may have mental health issues, substance use issues or are experiencing homelessness.

- Whether performing tasks related to hospitality or maintenance, every Ambassador should serve as extra “eyes and ears” to compliment the Chattanooga Police Department.

- It is understood that while all employees (Ambassadors, supervisors, operations manager, or others) are employed by and are the sole responsibility of the Vendor, they work on behalf of and are representatives of the Chattanooga BID.

BID Maintenance Service Needs

Daily maintenance services should include but not be limited to:

- Removal of litter and debris in the public right-of-way

- Graffiti abatement – daily inspection and immediate removal

- Removal of stickers, flyers, and other materials, from light poles, utility boxes, etc.

- Wiping trash receptacle tops and outer surfaces

- Identifying and reporting trash receptacles that are full or damaged

- Identifying and reporting trip hazards in the pedestrian right-of-way or the street

- Identifying and reporting access issues that impede pedestrian mobility, including strollers, wheelchair users, walkers and other mobility aids

- Monitoring the condition of tree wells, removing trash, feces, and any non-organic material ? Wiping down public furniture and fixtures

- Conducting weekly light fixture and lamp audits, and reporting lights or other public amenities in need of service

- On-demand spot cleaning

- Gum removal 

Vendor Responsibilities

The Vendor is expected to incorporate “best practice” industry standards for its clean and safe operation. The Vendor will uphold rigorous hiring standards that include background checks to make sure that all employees working on behalf of the Downtown Chattanooga BID are adequately vetted and sufficiently qualified to meet the demands and expectations of their positions.

In addition to hiring employees, the Vendor is responsible for training and supervising employees to ensure that all tasks are undertaken in a manner that follows documented safety protocols and that interaction with the public occurs in a way that is consistently courteous and helpful.

The operation should be fully equipped with two-way radios, cell phones and/or other electronic communication devices needed so that the program is efficient and responsive, and also allows for interaction with staff of the Downtown Chattanooga BID, the Chattanooga Police Department, and any additional agencies identified by the Downtown Chattanooga BID.

It is required that all maintenance and security related issues and interactions with the public be documented. The Vendor should utilize and maintain an electronic online data and work order system that is easy to use and capable of generating reports and analyzing data statistically, spatially, and in real time.

The Vendor should provide and maintain uniforms for the Ambassadors from a source agreed upon by the Downtown Chattanooga BID. All Ambassadors will be distinctly uniformed and thereby clearly identified as working on behalf of the Chattanooga BID.

The vendor is required to provide sufficient and appropriate outer clothing and uniforms (color, type of material and logo as determined by the Chattanooga BID), and protective gear, supplies and equipment as needed. Ambassador Training Proper and thorough training is paramount for the clean and safe program to be successful.

Vendor shall provide for initial training and appropriate in-service training, involving classroom and field instruction prior to Ambassadors working in the Downtown environment. Vendor shall submit a detailed training plan/program and schedule with this proposal. Detailed training practices and manuals must be made available to the Chattanooga BID prior to training being conducted.

Training is provided by the Vendor at the Vendor’s expense and shall include, but may not be limited to:

- Overview of the Chattanooga BID’s mission and philosophy

- Policies outlining personal conduct, attitude, etiquette

- Public relations and customer service

- Employee Code of Conduct/Rules and Regulations

- Scheduling, assignments, procedures

- Uniform maintenance, appearance

- Equipment use and maintenance

- Communications/use and etiquette for 2-way radio device

- Daily procedures

- Special Events procedures

- Procedures and protocol for working with the Chattanooga Police Department

- Data collection, report writing, emergency reporting procedures

- Daily program activity reporting

- Personal safety policies and procedures; emergency procedures

- Legal responsibilities

- Street smarts; awareness; dealing with conflict; cultural diversity

- Chain of command

- CPR/First Aid/CERT and related trainings

- Training and certification to administer Narcan

- Classroom and field training: downtown geography, points of interest, businesses, and services ? Segway, bicycle and other equipment safety, as applicable

- Downtown attractions – in depth understanding

- Dealing with emotional behavior, mentally ill, drug addicted, aggressive behavior, etc. ? Interacting with individuals experiencing homelessness

- Community sensitivity/cultural diversity

- Interacting with youth

- Dealing with gangs

The vendor is required to carry proper insurance and to pay benefits to the Ambassadors

At least initially, the Chattanooga BID proposes that the vendor will provide clean and safe services seven days a week, generally from 6:00 a.m. until 12:30 a.m. Sunday through Saturday. Schedule adjustments will be considered as it relates to seasonality.

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