Walking ambassadors to espouse charms of downtown Las Vegas

A new kind of human billboard will hit Las Vegas streets in October, but instead of wearing cardboard signs around their necks, this fleet of downtown ambassadors will be armed with local insight and iPads.

United Way of Southern Nevada is joining the City of Las Vegas to start the Downtown Las Vegas Dynamos.

The goal of these “helpful heroes of downtown Las Vegas” will be to attract attention downtown, which sometimes gets passed over for the Strip by visitors and locals.

“We want to put Vegas’ best foot forward,” said Cass Palmer, United Way President and CEO.

United Way and Riley Foley, the Downtown Ambassador Coordinator, are focusing on three areas: Fremont Street, the downtown outlet mall and the area near Gold & Silver Pawn, where fans of the television show Pawn Stars congregate.

Ambassadors will be trained by Las Vegas police, local historians and a city representative. They will wear Dynamos T-shirts and­ — pending funding — carry Apple iPads loaded with maps, menus and information on downtown sights.

The ambassadors will provide recommendations and answer questions for visitors and residents.

The downtown area is teeming with great places to eat, drink and see shows, said Jennifer Bradley, a United Way marketer.

United Way will get information from restaurants, bars, event venues and the Las Vegas Arts District so they can best direct visitors to attractions based on their interests.

Each area will have one to two dozen ambassadors on duty on busy weekend afternoons. The three-hour shifts will involve standing most of the time.

United Way is also working on downtown beautification.

Last month the organization fielded more than 200 volunteers for a cleanup project that spanned 13 city blocks. Volunteers picked up trash, painted curbs and generally made the area more pleasing to the eye.

“We want to make downtown the place to see, place to be,” Palmer said.

Another beautification project is scheduled in October.

Informational meetings for the Dynamos program will be held at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Tuesday at the historic Fifth Street School. Additional information is available at uwsn.org/dynamos.

Contact Annalise Porter at aporter@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0264.