Meet DSP Clean Streets Manager, Mike Kathan

Meet Mike Kathan, DSP’s Clean Streets Manager. Mike and our Clean Streets team work tirelessly make the downtown neighborhood one of the cleanest and safest in the City. Take a minute to get to know Mike.

FullSizeRenderTell us about your role at DSP?

I have been with DSP for the past six years and I started as a Clean Streets team member. Back when I started, our maintenance services covered 3rd to 16th Streets from H to L Streets. Since then, we have expanded our services to Old Sacramento, Regional Transit light rail and bus stops downtown, and Capitol Mall. It’s exciting to see the energy surrounding the revitalization of downtown and knowing that the Clean Streets team plays a vital role in making downtown Sacramento a welcoming environment for workers and visitors alike.

These are a few of the services we provide to ensure the downtown district is inviting and encourages people and businesses to want to be here:

  • Graffiti removal
  • Litter abatement
  • Pressure washing
  • Alley cleaning

Not only do we work directly with the public, we also work closely with downtown property and business owners, addressing their needs and concerns about the maintenance of areas around them. As an added bonus we get to support all of the special events DSP puts on like Concerts in the Park and the ice rink. Knowing that we create a clean and safe environment for thousands of people to come and enjoy family-friendly events downtown is really rewarding.

Photo courtesy of Nicholas Wray

What makes downtown Sacramento a great destination?

Downtown Sacramento offers a wide variety of activities for people of all ages. There are great bars to grab a drink at and so many delicious restaurants to try. There has never been a more exciting time to be in Sacramento. We are about to welcome thousands of people who haven’t visited the area in awhile and knowing that we are the team that helps keep downtown look its best – that’s huge. I take a lot of pride in what we do.


What changes have you seen take place in downtown since your time with DSP?

I started working in downtown in 1997 at the renowned Crest Theatre and during that time the nightlife on K Street was almost nonexistent. Businesses shut down before dark and most of downtown became a ghost town after 8 p.m. Fast-forward 20 years, K Street has been brought back to life and a large part of that is due to the hard work we do at DSP. There are new bars and restaurants going in all over, especially with the Golden 1 Center opening soon. A lot of historic buildings are now showing signs of life as new investors look to downtown Sacramento as a thriving opportunity.

DSP is at the helm of a lot of this change. One of my favorite projects we’re working on is the lighting and wayfinding downtown. Working with property owners and SMUD, we recently installed new LED lighting along K Street to make the area more pedestrian-friendly and encourage nighttime visitors to stay longer. People are much more likely to spend time downtown later into the evenings if they feel safe and can navigate the corridors easily.


What are a few of the can’t-miss spots in downtown Sac?

After a long day at work I love relaxing with a cold beer. If I’m up for it I’ll go play some pinball at Coin-Op or go unwind at Blackbird – they’ve got a great beer selection and laid-back environment. When the weather is nice and I want to do a little people watching I head to the patio at KBAR. I’m also really looking forward to all the new places opening in the next few months, like Malt & Mash and Sauced BBQ & Spirits.


Favorite place to eat in downtown Sac? What do you order?

There are a couple of places I really love. Jim Denny’s has been a staple here since the 1930s and I’m a sucker for a good breakfast – Jim Denny’s makes the biggest pancake I’ve ever seen! They also have a killer cheeseburger. When I need to satisfy my sweet tooth, the Delta King serves my favorite carrot cake. There’s nothing better than sitting on the river, enjoying the sunset, and watching the boats go by.


Best dessert in downtown Sac?

Well, my wife works at Estelle’s so I think I am obligated to say something from there. The cronuts are pretty amazing and they’re now served everyday.


Are you a Sacramento native? If so, where were you born? Where did you go to high school?

I am a true Sacramentan – born and raised. I attended Highlands High School in North Highlands, which is where I grew up. When I met my wife in 2004 we moved downtown and we’ve been here ever since.


What do you do in your spare time?

On my days off I enjoy spending time outdoors. I like to swim, golf (even though it has been awhile), and ride my bike on the American River trail.


Coffee or tea? Where do you get it?

Coffee – when I visit my wife at Estelle’s I have her make me an iced mocha.


Dogs or cats?

Dogs – my wife and I have a Dachshund Chihuahua mix named Hank. He’s an old boy, probably 13 or 14 years old, but he is my little hound dog. He sleeps most of the day but always follow me around as soon as I get home.


People would be surprised to know that….

I still own and drive the very first car I bought in high school. It is a 1978 Chevy Camero and I spent all summer working at a movie theater in Davis to save the $1,000 (crazy right) to buy it.