Pittsfield's Mayor Bianchi Announces the Start of the Innovative Downtown Ambassador Program

Mayor Bianchi is proud to announce the start of the Downtown Pittsfield Ambassador Program beginning on July 21, 2014. The Ambassador Program entails ‘out of the box’ methods to addressing increased downtown visitor presence during the tourist season and beyond.  The program also provides a chance for students in the Criminal Justice program, at Berkshire Community College, to gain field experience. The program is based off of similar models implemented in other cities around the country such as Raleigh, North Carolina and Phoenix, Arizona.

Bianchi stated, “I pushed for this innovative program in response to Downtown Pittsfield Inc.’s (DPI) Quality of Life committee's request for an increased presence of people who could provide information on the Downtown area.  To me, it made sense to partner with the Berkshire Community College’s Criminal Justice program to address the Quality of Life committee’s request.”

He added, “As we look towards making a career vocational and technical high school, and creating stronger connections between the future school and Berkshire Community College, I believe this is a perfect time to increase the City’s connections between BCC and the community. Through the Ambassador program, the students in the Criminal Justice program at BCC are able to gain viable experience right here in Pittsfield - the program acts as a practicum, similar to other vocational tracks.”

The ambassadors will walk the streets in teams of two along North and South Streets between West Housatonic Street and Maplewood Avenue and will also visit near-by areas as well. The future ambassadors have worked with Downtown, Inc., the Police Department and the Sheriff’s Department to be oriented to the City’s geography and basic City procedures.

The ambassadors will be a welcoming, information sharing resource for tourists, residents and downtown business owners and employees.  They will provide assistance in all matters, such as parking information, offering directions and providing information on dining, shopping and cultural activities happening in downtown.

Bianchi explained, “After coming up with the innovative way to address the merchants Quality of Life request, I worked with the Police Advisory Committee to set up the program.”

The Mayor and the Police Advisory Committee partnered with the Pittsfield Police Department, the Sheriff's Department, Downtown Pittsfield, Inc. and Berkshire Community College to provide this service. The key to the success of the program relied on strong partnerships throughout the downtown community, the Mayor’s office and the Police and Sheriff’s department.

Chief Wynn said, “The Downtown Ambassador Program is a terrific example of the community coming together to address a perceived community condition.  When the Downtown merchants approached the Quality of Life Committee about an increased Downtown presence, we realized we needed to take a creative approach.  Improving on the previous Ambassador program by including other City Departments, DPI, and BCC seemed like a logical way to achieve that goal.”

The Members of the Police Advisory Committee want to thank all of those involved for making this program possible. They also want to personally thank Peter Jone’s Trophies for supplying the apparel, including shirts and jackets, for the ambassadors.

Downtown Pittsfield, Inc. Board of Directors President Kate Maguire said, "We were so pleased to be given the opportunity by the Mayor to support this important new initiative.  We are excited to collaborate with Berkshire Community College, the Police Advisory Committee, the Sheriff's Department and Pittsfield Police on what will be a unique educational opportunity for students and a welcoming point of hospitality for our city."