Initiative formed to address community concerns


FREDERICK, Md. (WDVM) — The Downtown Safety and Services Initiative (DSSI) is a community initiative stemming from a conversation held back in the Fall of 2018 between the city of Frederick and downtown stakeholders.

“Namely businesses and residents,” said Peter Couchman, co-leader of the DSSI and director of community benefit projects of the Ausherman Family Foundation, “had an opportunity to express their concerns with some challenges that they were facing here in the general area of Carroll Creek and Linear Park.”

And through a series of conversations and open forums, the DSSI identified five core issues; and as a response, they created five committees to address these concerns.

The first being the ambassador programs committee.

“To shore up resources in visitor and tourism hospitality, human service outreach, city beautification — things like that.”

Then the security and enforcement committee.

“Looking at, for instance, a network of security cameras perhaps — ways we can shore up the security environment.”

The environmental design and programming committee.

“Do we have sufficient lighting in our park, do we have areas where people can kind of hideout undiscovered and do illicit behavior.”

The largest is the services and coordination committee, which looks at the network of human services providers.

“And the types of services we’re providing as a community — are they the right types of services”.

And finally, the public messaging committee which will have a two-fold marketing campaign.

“On one side, helping to educate residents, businesses and tourists on the challenges encountered people who’ve experienced homelessness or drug addiction or mental health issues.”

The other aspect is educating the public on the services that the city provides for panhandlers and the homeless.

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