Melvin Eledge, the leader of Downtown Grand Rapids Inc's Downtown Ambassador team, recently was presented with the Local Impact Award by Block-by-Block, one of the leading downtown management service providers in the industry.

The Local Impact Award recognizes exemplary managers who demonstrate exceptional leadership and often exceed the expectations of their constituents in communities served by Block-by-Block, which oversees Ambassador programs in 95 U.S. cities, including Grand Rapids.

"Melvin's leadership of the Grand Rapids Downtown Ambassador team has exceeded all expectations," Interim President & CEO Tim Kelly said. "His work reaches Grand Rapidians and visitors alike and helps create a vibrant and thriving Downtown."

DGRI's specially-trained Ambassadors are on the job 7 days a week for an average of 16 1/2 hours per day.

Under Mr. Eledge's leadership, the Ambassadors in 2016 delivered the following outcomes for Downtown Grand Rapids:

  • 312,575 lbs of trash removed
  • 11,477 weeds pulled
  • 18,042 planters watered
  • 11,419 fire hydrants, parking meters & curbs cleared of snow
  • 172,910 cigarette butts collected & recycled- with an additional 100 collection receptacles installed thus far in 2017
  • 220,264 umbrella escorts, wayfinding & other pedestrian assistance
  • 226 block faces power washed
  • 14,996 social service assists