Editorial: Droser Plaza at Ashmont to be dedicated on Saturday

Vince Droser was shown overlooking the Ashmont MBTA station as it was being re-constructed circa 2009. Bill Forry photo

It has been nearly ten years since Vince Droser’s sudden death from a heart attack in his home on Barrington Road. The passing of the 55-year-old New York native stunned the Dorchester community, particularly the tight-knit Ashmont-Adams Village neighborhood where he and his family had become central to civic and social life.

His official role was vice president for development at Trinity Financial, Inc., the Dorchester-based company that built the Carruth Building on what was once an MBTA parking lot for the old Ashmont station. He was the project manager for the Carruth, which opened in 2010. He shepherded the project through a long review process, built consensus with his neighbors, synced the project up with the reconstruction of Ashmont Station and Peabody Square, and made sure every detail of the six-story building was spot-on.

But Vince Droser was more than just a developer. He and his wife, Nancy Anderson, were in constant motion as civic ambassadors in the neighborhood. As Ed Forry wrote upon Vince’s passing: “At the annual neighborhood block party, it was Vince who brought the barbecue grilles, gas tanks, the hot dogs, and burgers—and then remained at the grille, cooking until everyone had eaten and the food was gone. At Christmas, after the city workers had put lights on the community tree at Peabody Square, he’d show up with a stepladder, and personally add extra ornaments and decorations.

“He leaves a huge hole in the fabric of our neighborhood,” Ed wrote.

That remains true today. Since 2011, friends and colleagues of Vince Droser have pressed on and made significant progress in extending his legacy of growth and improvements in and around Ashmont. The Treadmark building has joined its older sibling, the Carruth, on Dorchester Avenue. The Greater Ashmont Main Street group has continued to organize and build community through block parties, concerts, and planning meetings.

Still, the memory of Vince’s leadership is still vivid and alive. This Saturday (Nov. 30), the community that still mourns his loss will gather to memorialize him for generations to come by re-naming the plaza outside the MBTA station in his name. The re-dedication will happen in tandem with the holiday tree lighting at Peabody Square around 7 p.m.

Trinity Financal president James Keefe said that Vince’s friends and colleagues struggled to come up with a fitting remembrance. They considered commissioning a piece of art on the plaza, but settled on seeking to re-name it for him instead.

“This important community space is where all kinds of events take place, from the Farmer’s Market to the Christmas tree lighting,” said Keefe. “Ashmont Station had been a real barrier between the neighborhoods and Vince saw this space as a way to bring people together.”

Before the space that will now be known as Droser Plaza was created, the annual tree lighting was held on a traffic island in the middle of Dot Ave. Vince led the charge to move it to the plaza. One of Keefe’s final memories, he said, was watching as Vince and Nancy hauled a loudspeaker to the site to play holiday music and decorated the plaza with laurels.

“That space would not have been created without his efforts to re-design the station to reconnect it to Peabody Square and create a community gathering space,” said Keefe.

– Bill Forry

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