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COVID Recovery: Mayor Breed Announces San Francisco Downtown Revival Plan

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced a new plan to assist the recovery of the city's downtown area after the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered several businesses there.

At a press conference held in union square, Breed discussed her office's plans to invest over $9 million into bringing back jobs and business in the city's downtown.

"I'm smiling because I'm thinking about recovery in San Francisco," Breed said. "It's so important that when we reopen, we reimagine what downtown can be."

Breed's plan is three parts: first is investing $7.5 million into the city's community ambassadors program, which hires retired police officers and others to provide assistance and "a welcoming presence" around transit hubs and tourist attractions. The plan calls on the city to hire 50 new ambassadors to be stationed in popular areas such as Union Square, the Financial District, Fisherman's Wharf and Chinatown neighborhoods by late summer.

Raw Video: San Francisco Mayor London Breed Announces Downtown Recovery Plan

"Community Ambassadors will provide a consistently welcoming atmosphere for returning office workers, residents, and tourists in the downtown area and support the reopening of storefront businesses," a statement from the city read. "They will engage with commuters and visitors to provide hospitality and wayfinding services, engage with people who may be in distress to address safety issues and access appropriate City services, and will monitor and maintain the appearance and cleanliness of sidewalks and public spaces, calling in issues to City departments as needed."

The second part of Breed's plan focuses on hosting outdoor events in the city's downtown. Breed proposed using $1 million to start "SFWednesdays," an ongoing series of events around downtown starting in July. This will include a series of open-air events ranging from small lunch-time events to larger programs in Downtown's iconic plazas. There's also plans for similar events at the Port Of San Francisco, which would start in August.

"The artists and performances that will enliven these downtown plazas beautifully reflect our city's racial equity values; they will bring vitality and life back to our streets, and help everyone remember why San Francisco is so special," said Ralph Remington, director of cultural affairs for the San Francisco Arts Commission.

The third and final part of Breed's Downtown Recovery Plan will inject $1 million into revitalizing Hallidie Plaza, better known as the gateway to Union Square at the Powell Street BART station. These improvements will include cleaning, installation of plants and greenery and colorful furniture, as well as increased food and beverage options for visitors and commuters who are disembarking from BART and the Cable Car, according to the city.

The funding for the plan has been added to Breed's two-year budget, which she plans to submit on June 1, according to a press release.

Apparently Breed is expecting a showdown over her plans. Near the end of her announcement, Breed took a decidedly confrontational tone when discussing dealing with the city's Board of Supervisors. She referenced past battles and exclaimed that if the board began taking issue with her plans, "My plan is to bring it to the voters."

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