The Downtown Council has tapped Michael McLaughlin to investigate a Downtown Improvement District to beef up cleaning and safety.
McLaughlin started his job as vice president of district services in early January. On a rare snowy day, he walked the skyway system to watch snow removal efforts.
He will work half-time on the Business Improvement District, similar to ones he has developed for neighborhood business groups, he said.
Downtown's program could include improved snow removal or power-washed sidewalks, he said. It could include a Safety Ambassador Program, where people walk around Downtown with radios to call in problems. It could include other enhancements: a coordinated banner program, better marketing, faade improvements or even a business recruitment program.
Property owners pay for the add-on services through special service district assessments. The idea is "preliminary, conceptual and doesn't have a budget yet," McLaughlin said.
McLaughlin has directed several neighborhood business groups: The Greater Northside Business Association, the Loring Business Association, the Southeast Business Association, the South Hennepin Business Association and the Stadium Village Commercial Association. He will continue his ties with the groups, but has contracted to have someone handle the day-to-day operations.)
McLaughlin also will take some responsibilities formerly handled by Frank Brust, who recently retired. McLaughlin will staff the Skyway Advisory Committee, the Nicollet Mall Advisory Board and a Downtown Security Committee.
Questions about the skyways, the Nicollet Mall or the Business Improvement District? McLaughlin can be reached at 338-3807.