Woods takes helm at Cedar Grove Civic

Lauren Woods: Boston Police officerLauren Woods: Boston Police officerA new leader has taken the reins at one of Dorchester’s oldest and busiest civic associations. Lauren (Smyth) Woods, 33, is the new president of the Cedar Grove Civic Association. She succeeds Sean Weir, who stepped down at the end of the summer. Woods has served as a member of the association for 11 years and served as vice-president under Weir for the last two years.

A Boston Police officer, Woods is a native of Cedar Grove who attended St. Brendan Grammar School, Boston Latin School and UMass Amherst. She served as Mayor Thomas Menino’s neighborhood coordinator in Dorchester from 2005-2010. In that role, Woods attended hundreds of civic and community events and has a solid understanding of how a well-run civic association works.

“It’s difficult enough to get people engaged and involved,” Woods told the Reporter. “My goal here is to make the most of peoples’ time. It needs to be informative and make the information as easy to access as possible.”

Woods wants to build the civic group’s membership — and grow attendance at monthly meetings, especially when there will be important votes on development projects and licenses that impact the Cedar Grove community.

“Our neighborhood is really being looked at now and there will be developments that need our attention,” said Woods.

Her vice-president is Patty McMahon, who has 20 years of experience as an executive board member. Woods said she intends to delegate key tasks to e-board members and beef up the civic group’s communication via email, Twitter and Facebook. She also hopes to form a new committee to plan a celebration of the civic association’s upcoming 80th anniversary. Woods knows something about the civic group’s long history. Her own grandfather once served as its president.

“Sean [Weir] did a great job,” Woods said, referring to her predecessor. “He really stepped up and came to understand what it takes to run a civic association.