Groundwerx innovates to meet challenges

Property owners continue to strongly support the programs of the Property-Based Improvement District, according to results of a survey conducted this spring.

Efforts by the Groundwerx clean team and downtown beautification gained over 90 percent approval, tree maintenance garnered an 87 percent approval rating, and enhanced security services (SEU) jumped eight points to 80 percent approval.

“I’m pleased to see that satisfaction with the SEU program has increased, especially after working with the PBID staff to recruit and retain officers,” said San Jose Police Department Capt. David Santos. 

By recruiting more officers, enhanced security downtown has become a fully staffed and functioning program, said Chloe Verrey, operations manager.  “The officers have a consistent presence and have grown relationships with residents, businesses and property owners,” she said.

Ambassador services maintained a similar approval rating to past years, property owners said.

However, property owners rated their satisfaction with the overall condition of downtown at its lowest levels since Groundwerx enhancement services began 12 years ago.

“With more people downtown in general, we have more challenges,” explained Verrey.  “Our strong ratings in cleanliness and enhanced security match what our property owners view as top priorities. Unfortunately, an increased homeless population, overall public safety and the maintenance of parks – which are also important to our members – are not in our control.”

Groundwerx stays in close contact with homeless individuals and works directly with PATH, downtown’s homeless service provider.  Verrey will share survey results with city police, parks, planning and housing departments, as well as Santa Clara County Office of Supportive Housing.

“Like any urban center, downtown has safety concerns, especially around quality of life issues,” Santos said.  He advises people fearing their safety or the safety of others to call 9-1-1 and asks people with general safety concerns to reach out to SJPD to have a crime prevention specialist to talk to individuals or their staff.

Meanwhile, Groundwerx continues to look for innovative ways to improve its programs.  The introduction of all-terrain litter vacuums (ATLVs) and the new Groundwerx app are intensifying Groundwerx’s ability to clean and respond to messes more quickly, Verrey said, adding, “We’re doing more with the same number of hours.” 

The Groundwerx Everywhere app is available on iPhones and Android.