News / Economy

Red Shirts Help Revitalize Once Declining Downtown

Red Shirts Help Revitalize Once Declining Downtowni
X
Faiza Elmasry
June 06, 2014 1:05 PM
Silver Spring, Maryland's redevelopment efforts have transformed its declining downtown into a vibrant destination, where dozens of stores, restaurants, theaters and offices attract visitors every day for work and fun. And as Faiza Elmasry tells us, one part of that effort is a group of community workers known as the Red Shirts, keeping downtown Silver Spring clean, safe and profitable. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Faiza Elmasry
— Silver Spring, Maryland's redevelopment efforts have transformed its declining downtown into a vibrant destination, where dozens of stores, restaurants, theaters and offices attract visitors every day for work and fun.

One part of that effort is a group of community workers known as the Red Shirts, that helps keep downtown Silver Spring clean, safe and profitable.

It’s hard for visitors to miss the Red Shirts.

The ambassadors stand out in their red shirts. Their mission is to enhance the experience for visitors to what was once a declining downtown. The envoys can be seen on the streets from 6 a.m. until midnight, seven days a week.

“The Red Shirts are county employees. Some have customer service experience," said Yvette Freeman, chief of operations for the Silver Spring Urban District, who oversees the 35-member crew. "They may have landscaping or construction experience. We are on-site to assist with jump starts and lock outs, when someone is unable to get into their car because they've locked their keys [in the car]. Escorting folks from their vehicles to their offices or from their offices to their vehicles or to the Metro station, doing maintenance, cleaning or removing graffiti.”

Red shirts also answer questions and provide directions, patrol parking garages and help with landscaping.  

Donhue Elliston, 28, enjoys the variety the job offers.

“I like keeping the city clean,” he said. “We do also pothole repairs. So I like that about my job. I like to making the streets safer for pedestrians to cross. I like making the street free of litter, so the residents are welcomed in a clean and a safe environment.”

Red Shirt Anthony Myers especially likes interacting with people.

“I like to help people and I like to provide services to people in different ways, giving information," he said. "On this job, I’ve made a lot of friends, met with people of different races and sharing their culture with me and stuff like that. So I basically build friendships on this job.”

Cafe owner Lene Tsegaye feels safer when the Red Shirts are around.

“They are very helpful, really dedicated to their job," Tsegaye said. "They come and check on you. Like you feel, it’s an extended family. I wish I can afford, myself, to [provide] breakfast every day for them. That’s how much they mean a lot to our place, even the whole area.”

You May Like

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7305
JPY
USD
101.53
GBP
USD
0.5830
CAD
USD
1.0656
INR
USD
60.075

Rates may not be current.