Areas around High and Pearl streets are welcoming a new public safety program intended to help make the off-campus area safer and cleaner.
Members of walking patrols, called stewards, will focus on improving the area through services such as improving district cleanliness, reducing graffiti, implementing beautification projects, facilitating neighborhood improvement projects and communicating with business and property owners.
“We are not just patrolling Pearl (Street), we are patrolling any public street within the University District (Special Improvement District) boundary,” said Matt Hansen, executive director at the nonprofit University District Organization.
SID is a designation provided by the city that creates a nonprofit to enhance the business and community experience in an area, with a board of directors elected by property owners in the district, according to the University District SID website.
The program began July 1. Wednesday through Saturday, the stewards will patrol the area from 6 a.m. to 4 a.m. Sunday to Tuesday, patrols will go from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“The SID has kept the University Area Commission updated about the project since the outset, and we’re definitely excited to see a safer, cleaner High Street,” said Sam Runta, a representative on the University Area Commission.
Runta added that the walking patrols complement Campus Partners’ plans for the 15th and High redevelopment, which includes plans for a more pedestrian-friendly Pearl Street.
Campus Partners is not the only stakeholder involved in this new program.
“This is a property owner-funded initiative; there are over 60 different properties,” Hansen said.
Stewards will provide a variety of safety services such as security, reducing street disturbances, distributing safety information and alerts and anticipating and responding to public service needs, Hansen said.
The stewards will be dressed in a uniform –– a gray polo shirt and black shorts or pants –– making them easier identify if anyone needs their assistance. Furthermore, the stewards may be contacted through the SID Hotline at 614-395-1600 if their service is needed.
“The SID is going to be yet another addition to the massive investment going into the University District, and is one of the programs that went into the rapid redevelopment of both the Short North and Downtown,” Runta said.