By Jordan Frias
After a year as vice president of the Old Dover Neighborhood Association in the South End, Ken Smith has become president of the organization and is looking to improve things within his neighborhood boundaries.
Smith said he was prepared to take on this role since he has “learned the ropes” from John Connelly, former Old Dover president, who stepped down to take on a “less strenuous” role as the association’s secretary. Smith cited his experience as former president of the Melville Park Neighborhood Association in Dorchester for 12 years as an example of his leadership skills.
“My priorities for this year are safety, security, smart development and transparency,” Smith said. “Far too many times boards discuss things and general members don’t know what’s going on. I want to make sure members feel like they are involved in our plans so they can support them.”
Collaboration with members and other organizations within the South End are also on the list of priorities for Smith, who wants the boost the role of his association in the South End Forum.
“If we want the South End to be taken very seriously by the city and have a voice we have to be more like Beacon Hill and the Back Bay where it’s one organization,” Smith said. “I don’t think we’ll ever disband all of the associations over the years, but at least we should come together as one voice.”
Smith’s goal is to have Old Dover be “the bench mark” of how well other associations can join forces with each other within in the Forum. He himself is looking to work with the newly formed New York Streets Neighborhood Association that is comprised of residents of the Ink Block luxury apartments.
“Although [its formation] was not what we would have preferred, I’m going to see how we can help [its membership] and work with them,” Smith said.
In terms of relationships, Smith said Old Dover will continue to work with companies like National Development, the owner of the mixed-use Ink Block development, and District D-4 police officers to improve things, like street lighting and safety.
“We don’t see much more development within our area currently,” he said. “We did a great job of helping to get the area to get where it is today and we’ve been so supportive over the years of that new development.”