Downtown safety ambassadors return full time

The yellow shirts have returned.

Last year, the Downtown Development Authority ran a pilot program with the Downtown Safety Ambassadors.

Now, they are back after the authority committed to spend $200,557 for the annual program.

The ambassadors will be present on the street and help create a  positive and welcoming environment.

Security and hospitality services will be provided Sunday – Thursday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday-Saturday from 7 a.m. to 11p.m. Two ambassadors in bright yellow shirts will be on foot and bike patrol throughout the District on Atlantic Ave. from NW/SW 6th Ave. to A1A; NW 5th Ave. – two blocks north; the Pineapple Grove Arts District and South of Atlantic Ave. one block.

“The program enhances the current Clean and Safe program and improves the quality of life for the residents, visitors, businesses and employees, and the overall experience of the Downtown,” said DDA Executive Director Laura Simon.

The ambassadors will work with the police department to monitor areas within the downtown with an aim of deterring criminal activity or disruptive street behavior and downtown business owners and employees to share information and assist with panhandling situations or any other related needs.

Partner organizations for the Safety Ambassador Program include: Delray Beach DDA, Police Department Clean and Safe Unit, Fire Department, Community Improvement and Downtown Clean and Safe Unit and the Homeless Task Force.

The DDA staff will manage and oversee the program as well as be the liaison with the PSC management team.

Community Greening wins grant to pay for new trees

For the second year in a row, Community Greening was awarded the TD Green Streets grant from TD Bank.

The grant focuses on raising the tree canopy in low to moderate income areas. Community Greening used the money to plant 100 trees behind SD Spady Elementary School.

More than 75 people came out to participate in the planting.

Chris Evert Pro-Celebrity Tennis Classic receives new contract with Delray

The annual Chris Evert Pro-Celebrity Tennis Classic will return to the Delray Beach Tennis Center for the next five years.

Commissioners approved a new five-year contract to help fund the Chris Evert Pro-Celebrity Tennis Classic through 2022.

“I am very grateful for this partnership and hope to continue this relationship,” Chris Evert said in a video message to commissioners.

The event, which pairs celebrities and tennis pros on the court for two days, has been held in Delray since 1999. It was held in Boca from 1989-1998. It has features celebrities including  President George Bush, Regis Philbin, Seal, Alan Thicke, Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova, Don Shula, Chevy Chase and John Lovitz.

Per the new contract, Delray will pay $61,000 in 2018. The fee will increase by $2,000 until it caps at $69,000 in 2022.

Half of the payment will be donated to the Drug Abuse Foundation of Palm Beach County. The amount contributed by the City of Delray Beach will be matched 1:1 by The Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida.

Since the Pro-Celebrity Classic has been held at the Delray Beach Tennis Center, the Chris Evert Charities has donated approximately $2 million dollars to the Drug Abuse Foundation.