Visit Knoxville launching K-Town Connect Ambassador Program for downtown area

Written by WBIT Staff

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Visit Knoxville announced a new program that would place ambassadors in areas across the city starting Friday.

It is called “K-Town Connect” and ambassadors will be identifiable by light-green clothing showing the program’s brand. These ambassadors are meant to ensure both visitors and locals enjoy spending time in the downtown area. They will perform a variety of roles:

  • Hospitality and Information: Ambassadors will greet pedestrians and ask if they need help finding specific locations. They will give information on historic sites, restaurants, public transportation and other topics. They will also be tasked with helping people with basic functions like using a parking meter, repairing flat tires, escorting employees to parking garages and even opening doors. Officials said this is meant to offset a “potentially negative experience with a positive interaction.”
  • Give a Visible Presence: The ambassadors will be tasked with roaming the area and providing a visible, accessible, outgoing and inviting presence. They are meant to provide an attitude of friendly professionalism and customer service. Officials also said they will also be strategically placed as needed to address issues at specific times of the day, on certain days of the week.
  • Address Quality of Life Issues: They will be trained to discourage solicitation and report crimes. They will also inform Visit Knoxville about the area and will be tasked with teaching people about ordinance violations. The City of Knoxville has policies against panhandling and solicitation during specific times of the day and at certain places.
  • Contact Property and Business Owners: Ambassadors will also work directly with property and business owners, managers and security workers to create a network exchanging information about downtown safety.
    All ambassadors will also be trained in “situational protocol,” meant to teach them how to handle tense situations in a “firm, yet courteous, manner.” Ambassadors in the K-Town Connect program will also manage social service outreach for unhoused people or who appear to be in need of mental or physical health services.

Ambassadors will remove litter and debris from streets and sidewalks. They will also remove stickers and handbills from utility poles, mailboxes, courier boxes, newspaper boxes, parking meters and other fixtures. Materials are often placed on those fixtures for a variety of services, as well as political campaigns.

“I am excited to get these new ambassadors on our city streets,” Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon said. “This is another important step in helping to keep our downtown welcoming, safe, and accessible for residents and visitors.”

The program will run in most of the downtown area, including areas around the Old City and The Sunsphere. Visit Knoxville partnered with Block by Block to develop the program. It is a company that works with cities across the U.S., including Chattanooga and Nashville, to provide similar services.

Logo for K-Town Connect Ambassador Services