Written by Betsy Abraham Saturday, 20 April 2013 00:00
Joan Boes loves Westbury. And she has the resume to back that up – more than 40 years worth of resume.
The recently re-elected village trustee has made getting involved in her community not just a hobby, but a lifetime commitment. Boes moved to Westbury in 1969 and, eager to get involved in the community, went to the library to find out what other residents were doing. There was a meeting of the League of Women voters there, and Boes, who was always interested in politics, immersed herself in the group.
“I enjoyed getting involved with local politics. The league had a slogan, ‘democracy is not a spectator sport, if you want to affect change, you have to get involved,’ and that always stuck with me,” Boes says.
Boes worked on both local and national campaigns, as well as getting involved with the Westbury Community Corral group, which would sing and do performances.
“Westbury became a wonderful existence for me and my family. I tried to be as involved as I could,” Boes said.
In 2001, when a seat on the Board of Trustees opened up, she ran and won, serving under mayor Ernest Strada.
“When you’re sitting out in the audience you have all the answers, but when you get involved and understand the limitations of government and how much thought has to go into solving every problem, while making sure essential services are provided, and taxes don’t go out the window, it takes a lot of work,” Boes says.
Now going into her fourth term on the Board, Boes says that she is always trying to move Westbury forward.
“I feel that I have something to contribute. I think I can still be a vital part of the decision making. Not only do I have the best interest of the village at heart but I have some ideas that have been very well received. I like to hear new ideas and push forward on them. If they’re successful, great, if not, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be trying.” Boes says.
Boes says that one of her main goals during her next term is to see the renovated theatre on Post Avenue bring arts back to Westbury. She hopes to see the theatre transform the downtown into a vibrant, cultural hub, which can stand up to competition from neighboring malls.
“I look forward to working with the arts council to bring the arts back to life in Westbury. The downtown-enhancement strategy will benefit everyone, including business and property owners, professionals, developers, and residents.
By the time my next term is over, I hope to see that this has all become a success, both artistically and commercially,” she said.
The arts council, which is still in its founding stages, will bring all sorts of entertainment to Westbury-from art shows, to concerts, to children’s programming.
“We’re looking to do it all. I know it’s an ambitious thing, but it can be done,” Boes says.
In addition to bringing new ideas to the table, Boes also brings a passionate love of the community. Having lived here for over four decades, she says she can’t imagine calling anyplace else home.
“I could have moved any time, but where would I go? There’s no place better than Westbury. I would have a very hard time not being here. It’s very much my community,” Boes says.
Many things in Westbury have changed over the years, but Boes says what she loves most about the village is how passionate people are to fight for it.
“People are still passionate about what goes on and that’s one of the things that has kept me here all these years. People who come to live here have sort of a basic core that they want to see good things happen here and they fight for their community and though there’s opposite feelings sometimes, in the end, Westbury comes together and that’s the thing I really love about Westbury,” Boes said.