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TAMPA, Fla. (Thursday, November 17, 2022) – The Ybor City Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) is excited to announce the launch of the refreshed Ybor YES! Team in partnership with Block by Block, a Louisville, Kentucky-based company. This new team enhances the current Ybor Environmental Services (Y.E.S.) Team with more resources and services provided.

“In our most recent Ybor City Resident and Worker survey, the community expressed a need to elevate the importance of safety, security, and cleanliness in the historic district,” said Ybor City CRA Manager Courtney Orr. “Block by Block is a national company providing exactly what our residents and business owners want and will be of great benefit to our community.”

The original Y.E.S. Team was first established in December 2000 by the City of Tampa to address clean-up and aesthetic maintenance in the Ybor City Historic District. According to Orr, as a reviving neighborhood, visitor destination, and popular entertainment venue, Ybor City requires additional services to stay clean and attractive. The team’s services are contracted to a private company and managed by the Ybor City CRA.

“As the largest service provider in our industry, we have honed our operating model during the last 20 years to stay ahead of the curve in anticipating how to best serve our customers,” Block by Block President Blair McBride said. “The needs of downtown districts and city centers are constantly evolving, and our services are geared toward this evolution. While our services began as mostly environmental maintenance and safety based, we have grown our programming to include hospitality, outreach, landscaping, park maintenance, transit, and even marketing.”

The Ybor City CRA previously managed an ambassador team and a separate cleaning crew.“Now with the help of Block by Block, we are uniting these services into one,” said Councilwoman Lynn Hurtak, who serves as CRA Board Chair. “This is a tremendous opportunity for Ybor City as we aim to increase safety and cleanliness. Through their partnership with the Ybor City CRA, Block by Block will provide a tangible difference in the quality of life in the area and bring positive outcomes through the services they provide.”

What the enhanced Ybor YES! Team will do for the CRA:

  • Greet pedestrians and provide general assistance, maps and/or directions, information on historic sites, shops, restaurants, public transportation, other places of interest, and general information that may be helpful and welcoming.
  • Provide help and support to the public to address a wide range of situations and needs, such as assistance with the use of parking meter stations, repairing a flat tire, opening a door, escorting employees to parking garages, and offsetting any potential negative experience with a positive interaction.
  • Interact directly with the City of Tampa Police Department (TPD), property and business owners, managers, and private security personnel to build a network, provide and receive information relevant to safety and hospitality, and raise public awareness of the program.
  • Circulate throughout the district daily to create a highly visible, accessible, outgoing, and inviting presence, with an attitude of friendly professionalism, superior customer service, and hospitality.
  • Ensure resources are placed strategically to address critical issues or needs at key times of day, days of the week, and as needed. All ambassadors are trained in ‘situational protocol’ to appropriately handle situations in a firm, yet courteous, manner.
  • Discourage aggressive solicitation, educate the public on ordinance violations, report crimes to the proper authority, and provide information and support to Ybor City CRA and the TPD as it relates to improper behavior in the district.

“Our programs are built on a strong foundation of local knowledge and enthusiasm for the area in which services will be carried out. Our ambassadors become experts in their environments providing an invaluable resource for those living, working, or visiting the area. Through their work providing street-level services, they establish positive relationships with those they interact with at every level from business executives to the unhoused,” McBride added.

With Block by Block’s large national footprint, they understand it’s extremely important that our community is safe and clean to keep the historical magic of the National Historic Landmark District alive and well.

“We promote the Historic District with great pride, and it has become one of the most desirable live, work, and play areas in our urban core,” Mayor Jane Castor said. “We are grateful for the work of our Ybor City CRA and believe the selection of Block by Block will provide important services to keep our community clean, safe, and secure. After all, Ybor City is the Heart of Tampa!”

For more information, all are welcome on Friday, November 18, 2022, from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. at Hotel Haya (1412 E. 7th Ave.) for a Ybor YES! Team meet and greet event.

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