Longtime Woodhaven civic leader Maria Thomson announced last week she would be stepping down from the executive board of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association, which she has been a member of for four decades and where she once served as president for four years.
Thomson, who serves as executive director of the Woodhaven Business Improvement District and the Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation, announced she would step down from the WRBA board last Friday in an email and officially tendered her resignation at Saturday’s monthly meeting where she received a standing ovation from fellow. She said she will continue to serve as a member of the block association.
“Being a board member and officer of it through the years and serving with so many dedicated members has been a very rewarding experience,” Thomson said. “I have always stated that I became involved in community activism because I wanted to make a difference. I hope that I have attained and continue to accomplish this aim. I know that the capable president and the board will continue to contribute to the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association and it will continue to be as I aptly named the Woodhaven Residents Block Association a long time ago ‘the guardian of Woodhaven.’”
Thomson said she retired so she would not feel obligated to attend every meeting and praised the current leadership of the association
Alexander Blenkinsopp, the WRBA’s communications director, released a statement Friday thanking Thomson for her service and calling her an “invaluable” member.
“It’s been an honor to serve alongside her,” he said. “We will deeply miss her presence at our board meetings but we know that she will continue to be a presence in Woodhaven and we will be able to work with her in the future on all matters in our community.”
In her time on the block association’s board, Thomson has been vocal on a number of issues concerning the neighborhood and its surroundings. She pointed to the closure of several bars on Jamaica Avenue that were magnets of crime, as well saving Woodhaven’s firehouses from closure. Recently, she was one of the leaders who fought to landmark the Forest Park Carousel.
Besides her role at the Woodhaven BID, GWDC and WRBA, Thomson is also a longtime member of Community Board 9. She was also president of the 102nd Precinct Community Council from 2005 until 2012.