BHA announces Koren Volk as new president
A torch has passed in the venerable Brooklyn Heights Association, whose history of service to New York’s first landmark district dates back to 1910. Koren Volk, a transplanted Canadian who moved to the Heights almost 30 years ago, has been named president. She will serve in this position until March 2024.
Volk succeeds Erika Belsey Worth, who led the community efforts to organize an alternative BQE plan and supported initiatives such as the “Brooklyn Heights Together” fund which supported workers in need during the COVID lockdown in 2020.
In keeping with the powerful neighborhood synergy of BHA members, Koren and Erika have resided for many years just half a block from each other, and both have been deeply involved in supporting and maintaining Brooklyn Heights.
A retired bank executive, Volk moved here when her fellow Canadian husband, Rick Dean, was transferred for work. After the couple joined the BHA, Volk began helping out with neighborhood events like the House Tour and the Designer Showhouse, and became an essential member of the Promenade Garden Volunteers, where she is the project manager. She also volunteers as an adult education tutor for Imani House of Park Slope.
One of the keys to BHA’s success is the willingness of the staff and governors “to roll up their sleeved to get important work done,” Volk wrote in her greeting to the community. As a recent notable example, BHA’s leadership was instrumental in getting the NYC Department of Transportation to abandon its disastrous six-lane Promenade Highway plan while it repaired the disintegrating BQE.
A “transformative and forward-looking solution for the entire BQE corridor” remains a top priority of BHA going forward, Volk said.
Another BHA priority is the revitalization of Montague Street, Volk said. The organization carried out a survey reaching 1,374 local residents and has engaged “traffic guru” Sam Schwartz to work on designs for a pedestrian-friendly zone that encourages people to linger and to shop.
In her free time, Volk retreats to her art studio in Sunset Park where she paints, predominantly in oil on canvas in a representational style. She has exhibited in numerous BWAC (Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition) shows and in various galleries, and her works are held in private collections.
Koren’s husband Rick, a former banker himself, is also deeply involved in the arts. He is the former chairperson of Civilians, a nonprofit Brooklyn-based theater company, and former treasurer and longtime board member of the Vineyard Theatre in Manhattan. He is also a co-founder of the nonprofit Beyond Boxing for youth.
Belsey Worth will retain an integral role in BHA. Among other activities, she had agreed to co-chair the much-lauded Brooklyn Heights Designer Showcase again this year.
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