Happenings in the Heart of the Bull City
February 2020
  • News
  • Event Highlights
  • Biz Tools: Traffic Report
  • Welcomes & Goodbyes
  • Ambassador Stories
  • Clean & Safe Stats
  • Meetings, Trainings & Forums
DDI Statement in Support of the Police

The following statement was read into the record at the Durham City Council Work Session on Thursday, February 6, 2020.

In light of the discussions around policing in Durham, amid increased crime in our city, and in response to concerns from our residential and business constituents, we at Downtown Durham, Inc. wish to make our stance on this issue clear.
After the three homicides downtown in 2019, we began taking a deeper dive in tracking and understanding crime statistics in our district. What the numbers show is concerning, with the potential to become alarming if not addressed effectively. Crime in downtown Durham was up 15% in 2019 over the previous year. In addition, larceny (the most prevalent crime) showed a 41% increase in Q4 2019 over Q4 2018.
We cannot afford to ignore these numbers or to prioritize ideology over the very real responsibility we have of keeping our community safe. We must commit to a smart, balanced and transparent approach to policing. We should not attempt to remedy systemic injustice by embracing lawlessness, which is what we do when we allow criminal activity to incur no consequences.
Twenty-five years ago, downtown Durham was a ghost town. Today it is a community of businesses large and small, with a growing cadre of local, minority and women business owners. It is a neighborhood, with more than 7,000 residents.
For this community crime is an ongoing concern, not an abstract concept. It is a reality for its victims, and even the perception of a dangerous or unsafe downtown drives away customers and imperils fledgling businesses – the very businesses Durham’s leadership and populace tout and embrace. 
A negative national portrayal of Durham as a city struggling both with an increasing crime rate and a reluctance to seek balanced solutions, damages our capacity to attract the development and companies that bring high quality, living wage jobs – the very jobs that Durham’s leadership and populace need to achieve long-term reductions in crime and poverty.
We at DDI have watched the culture of the police force under the current chief. We have seen significant efforts to partner with the community and to work with residents and business owners to reduce crime. We ask that we not respond to systemic bigotry and stereotyping by engaging in the same behavior in the reverse. Let’s look honestly and objectively at the culture Chief Davis is working to create, and at the outcomes she has achieved. If there is progress, and we believe there is, then let’s give her the tools she needs to address crime in our city before it becomes unmanageable.
This is about Durham and keeping its communities safe and welcoming, in perception and in reality. For DDI, it is about the business owners large and small, the employees who work here, and the residents who call downtown Durham home. We cannot afford to disregard smart, balanced, community-based approaches to keeping them safe. We have all worked too hard to build a thriving downtown that sustains a growing economy. We cannot go backward.

If you are a resident, business owner, property owner or employee of a company located downtown, we want to hear from you about this issue, so that we can continue to advocate on your behalf.

Traffic Report Is Now Accessible and Updated in Real Time

Each month we include a link to our Traffic Report with the newsletter. It highlights events that may increase foot traffic or cause street closures. In addition, we send Traffic Alert emails throughout the month as we are made aware of road closures.

Now, thanks in part to a suggestion from a downtown business owner, we've combined the two. We've converted the Traffic Report table to an online calendar that we update regularly with additional street closure information. You can view it online, subscribe to it, or print it. (The detailed view works best.) You can also click on links in individual events to get more information, like who to contact with questions.

Going forward, we will include the 'view' and 'subscribe' links in each newsletter, as well as a link to a printable pdf for the current month. We will also continue to email traffic alerts as we get them.

We hope this change is helpful.

Public Space Project Happenings: Come Out for the Radical Repair Shop & Save the Date for the Corcoran Poetry Wall Launch Party

Radical Repair Shop
Following successful visits at CCB Plaza and American Tobacco Campus, the Radical Repair Workshop is coming to the Durham Transportation Station for Third Friday, February 21, from 3:30-6:30 p.m.

Housed in a vintage camper named Sonny, the Radical Repair Workshop is a traveling sculpture experience created by Julia Gartrell. It encourages participants and viewers to consider their relationship to mending, sentimental objects, single-use items, and radical (potentially non-functional) modes of repair. You will be able to step inside the camper to explore the gallery and studio, contribute your own items for mending, and explore repair techniques through demonstrations and samples.

Corcoran Poetry Wall Launch Party
Save the date for the Corcoran Poetry Wall Launch Party on March 7, from 1-3 p.m. on Corcoran St. between Ramseur and Main streets.

The Corcoran Poetry Wall is a public installation of two poems, written by Durham residents Kristi Stout and Nina Oteria in the form of a mural painted by Bethany Bash. The launch party will feature Kristi and Nina reading selections of their poetry, as well as readings by Dasan Ahanu, Megan Bowser, Kate Van Dis, and Kofi Robinson. There will be a brief open mic portion following the readers, for community members who would like to share their work. Refreshments will be provided by Jeddah’s Tea.
Reminder: Join Us for a BID Stakeholder Input Session 

Each year DDI hosts a general input session to determine the priorities of our Business Improvement District stakeholders. This year, we are adding targeted listening sessions to focus on questions and ideas that are relevant to specific stakeholder groups.
We will host one input session per month. Please join us for the session(s) that fit best with your relationship with downtown Durham. The sessions are free and open, but we request that you RSVP.

All of the meetings will be held in the Temple Building, 302 W Main St.
To check out the great things happening downtown, visit the
The Event Calendar is the place for downtown retailers, restaurants and residents
to promote events. Submit your upcoming events today.
“Process Is Work” is an exhibition displaying the artistic process of documentary painter Anthony Patterson. Patterson has immersed himself in the history of the Crest Street Community in Durham, NC. where he was born and raised. This exhibition ( in the Durham Art Guild at Golden Belt) features his notes, ideas, research, in-progress works and messages from the elders of the community.
Check out all the great ways to celebrate Valentine's Day, Galentine's Day or Palentine's Day downtown.
Created in 1999, The NEVERMORE Film Festival is a juried competition festival held in the Carolina Theatre, which programs brand-new genre feature and short films from around the world. 
Third Friday
Durham's monthly art walk. Explore downtown Durham galleries, artist studios, shops, restaurants and music from 6 - 9 p.m. every Third Friday.
These events may increase foot traffic, close roads or otherwise affect downtown businesses and residents.

Road Closure Highlights:

Durham Farmers Market
Saturdays, Weekly, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Foster btwn Hunt + Corporation

Saint James Seafood and Oyster Bar – Restaurant (Reopened!)
806 W Main St.
Owner: Matt Kelly

PS118 – Art
(Horse & Buggy)
118 W Main St.
Owner: Matt Kelly
By Erik Nystrom, Clean and Safe Operations Manager

One of the greatest attributes to our Ambassador Team is extremely low staff turnover and attrition. More than half of the team currently serving has been on board since the program started in 2012. And over the past two years, three more positions have been added to keep up with the huge demand and explosive growth in the BID. It’s not a normal occurrence for me to have to say goodbye to staff members, so when I had to bid farewell to Ralph Gaskins, one of our superstar employees since 2012, it was tough.

Ralph announced back in early October that he was planning to retire after the new year. He decided it was time to hang up his hat after a lifetime of work, so he could begin enjoying his golden years. He plans to spend much more time with his wife and grandchildren, and he apparently is off to a great start! Asked what he would miss most about his work as an ambassador, he replied with a chuckle, “Getting up at 5:30 a.m.” Although we miss seeing him on the job daily, Ralph is still a huge part of the crew and will continue to see us for social outings, lunches and visits here downtown. I will still pick on him for being a Washington Redskins fan, too… Some things never change! 

As Ralph moves into this exciting new chapter of his life, we have much to be excited about here on the Ambassador Team. I’d like to introduce you to Michael Burke, our newest Ambassador Team member (pictured above). Michael is originally from Florida and has settled in Durham with his wife, and they’ve begun to build a life here. He has extensive experience with landscaping maintenance and design, planting, pruning and weed abatement. His work on the fall leaf cleanup this past season helped us finish ahead of schedule, which increased our productivity. His boundless energy has really made a difference. In addition, Michael has significant hospitality/food and beverage experience with sharp communication and customer engagement skills to match. He’s a perfect fit with the team and will continue to be a very valuable part of our operation as we move ahead. 

So, when you see Michael out making his rounds, say hello and chat with him. You’ll see why I’m proud to have him on our tight-knit team!
Downtown Durham's dedicated team of Ambassadors provides much needed clean and safe services. From sweeping and cleaning the streets, to providing directions for visitors, to jumpstarting car batteries, our Ambassadors are here to help. Have questions? Just stop one and ask. Need to submit a service request? Call 919-682-BULL (2855) or submit a request online.

Clean and Safe Service
Brickwork Laying (Square Feet)
Trash Bags Collected
Graffiti Removed - Paint
Graffiti Removed - Stickers
Customer Service (Directions, Battery Jumps, Etc.)
Panhandlers/Outreach/Social Service Referral
December 2019
_____________ _
Feb. 12
City Durham
Refiner's Fire Community Church
1003 E Main St.
Feb. 22
Go Forward NC
Durham County Health and Human Services Building
414 E Main St.
Downtown Durham, Inc.
115 Market St. • #213
Durham, NC 27701
This newsletter serves the businesses, residents and property owners
in the Downtown Durham Business Improvement District.
We're grateful for their support of DDI and downtown Durham.

We also thank the City of Durham for entrusting DDI to provide the BID services
that keep d owntown Durham a clean, safe and vibrant place.

Want to know if an address is within the BID?

Your feedback on this newsletter is welcome.
Contact gina@downtowndurham.com with suggestions or comments.

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For up-to-the-minute information on happenings in the heart of the Bull City: