CR to hire "Downtown Ambassadors"

The Cedar Rapids City Council will vote on a pilot program to try to make the downtown area a safer place.

Council wants to use downtown ambassadors to help out with issues at Greene Square and the Grounds Transportation Center.

The city wants to partner with Willis Dady to hire a homeless person to be an ambassador for downtown. They would be responsible for patrolling the area between Greene Square and the bus station.

The ambassadors will be patrolling during the weekend and at nights. They'll work as peacekeepers, talking to people and de-escalating situations, and will call police if necessary.

Officials said this program benefits the city, as well as those taking part in downtown activities.

If the pilot program is approved it would start next month and run until the end of the summer.

Police put security cameras up at Greene Square to help with the incidents. The cameras helped them catch two juveniles damaging property there.

The budget for the program is $35,000.

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