By Emily Greenhalgh
PBN Web Editor
PROVIDENCE – The Providence Downtown Improvement District was chosen as the first business improvement district to use Block by Block’s SMART System, a database-driven software system designed specifically for downtown district management.
The system, which Providence began using last month, uses a proprietary smart phone app to allow DID clean and safe team leaders to enter maintenance requests into the system, specifying the date, type of work order and address.
According to a release, if a team member notices a utility pole that has been knocked down, he can create a new work order logging its exact location along with a photo and a description to e-mail a request to the appropriate department and track the response time until repairs are completed.
The assigned categories vary from graffiti removal, pothole repairs and brick sidewalk maintenance to snow removal and landscaping issues. Team leaders also have the flexibility to change categories as necessary.
In the future, the smart phones will also be used for concierge services, directing visitors to the downtown website, downtownprovidence.com, which features an events calendar and business directory, according to a release.
Downtown Providence is the first of Block by Block’s 46 districts to implement the SMART System, but the program is expected to roll out in other communities throughout the remainder of 2013.
According to s statement from DID Operations Manager Frank Zammarelli, the system has already improved record keeping, reduced paperwork and saved staff time.
“The ambassadors have become experts at using the system, and it’s making them more accountable for their work. It’s providing better, more detailed information, and it’s easy to operate on the street. We appreciate its simplicity and effectiveness,” said Zammarelli in prepared remarks.
The reports can be customized and organized by date, location or assignment type, which helps the DID to evaluate trends and deploy staff, said a release.
“The DID continues to reinvent itself, finding more ways to be efficient. The pictorial evidence helps to show our partners what needs attending to,” said Bob Gagliardi, former DID board chairman and current board member, in a statement.