MORGANTOWN — Like each downtown in America, downtown Morgantown has points.
Okay. What now?
Some individuals get Fb accounts.
Kim Katarski and Ed Mason go to work.
For the final 15 months or so, the pair have been on the entrance line downtown.
They’ve picked up practically 8,000 kilos of trash, carried out greater than 1,300 check-ins with companies, tended to just about 500 well being issues and attended dozens of group occasions.
All the pieces you may anticipate from a metropolis ambassador.
“Adverse power can multiply. Properly, so can optimistic power. To us, this uniform is supposed to signify service – optimistic service. What meaning is all the time altering,” Katarski stated.
The brainchild of Assistant Metropolis Supervisor Emily Muzzarelli, the town ambassador program was launched in April 2022 utilizing $200,000 in American Rescue Plan funds.
By all accounts, it’s been successful.
This system was just lately acknowledged by the West Virginia Municipal League with an All-Star Neighborhood Award.
It’s being seen domestically as properly.
“They’re in right here most likely as soon as per week or so checking in and asking what we’re seeing and if we now have any points or questions for the town,” Jim Coombs of Coombs Flowers stated. “We’re not open on the weekends, however I’ll drive via and see them cleansing up and speaking to individuals and simply type of keeping track of issues.”
Katarski defined that she and Mason have been basically handed an idea and have largely constructed their very own job description based mostly on 4 touchstones — tourism and hospitality, beautification, enterprise outreach and public well being and security.
They’ve since been joined by Ambassadors Steve Butler and Cam Allen. Intern Laura Lengthy joined the staff this fall.
Morgantown Metropolis Council acknowledged this system throughout its most up-to-date common assembly.
“You two explicit people, who’re clearly recognized with this program and have put a lot power into it — I simply actually recognize your infectious attitudes and your work ethic,” Mayor Jenny Selin stated. “It’s clear you’re making it right into a program that’s most likely unexcelled wherever.”
Mason stated confronting the issues downtown every single day could be troublesome. So can strolling 7-10 miles a shift in the summertime warmth and winter wind.
“It’s overwhelming at occasions, however I do know that we’re serving to. We’re a part of the answer. These are sophisticated points and each metropolis within the nation is going through them. However we’ve seen a lot positivity from the general public and from enterprise homeowners down right here. I believe that’s what retains us optimistic and retains us going,” he stated. “No matter individuals say, the town just isn’t sitting again and doing nothing. It’s sophisticated, however I do know they wish to make issues higher and I do know that we’re a part of that.”
River Truthful Commerce proprietor Shannon Dowling stated the ambassador program is a “fantastic program with pretty individuals.”
“They’re on the market. They’re seen. They’re all the time smiling and fascinating. It’s simply one thing optimistic – not solely this system, however the individuals they’ve chosen to be ambassadors. There’s no query that they actually care, they usually need individuals to see one of the best facet of Morgantown,” she stated. “I do know for sure they need Morgantown to be one of the best that it may be as a result of it reveals of their perspective each single day.”
Katarski stated she and Mason have leaned on each other and their shared love of group in constructing the ambassador program over the previous yr.
“The underside line is all people desires to know they’re being heard, and all people desires to take satisfaction of their dwelling,” she stated. “That is our dwelling.”