Public Service Profile: Scottsville Town Administrator, Matt Lawless, Reflects on Organizing a Community

Recently, Matt Lawless, the Town Administrator in Scottsville, Virginia, was featured on DHCD’s Partners for Better Communities podcast to discuss how he makes things happen, so to speak, bringing creativity, passion and care for people and place to his position as a local administrator. Doug Jackson, Capacity Development Specialist for Virginia DHCD, takes us behind the scenes as Lawless reflects on the great things happening in Scottsville!

Listening to the podcast, it’s undeniable that Lawless truly understands the variety of challenges, joys and rewards of serving a small town, particularly one with a historic district, flood risks, a resilient community network, strong regional partnerships and eyes on the future.

“I like being able to do all kinds of things in one day. I see my work as understanding what the community wants to see happen, identifying the parts of it that government is good at and then finding volunteers and getting other people excited. How can we do this together? It works better that way, and it’s more fun than just paying for things with taxes.” – Matt Lawless, Scottsville Town Administrator

The Town of Scottsville, an active Exploring Main Street (EMS) community, is located along the horseshoe bend of the James River in Albemarle County. The small town of almost 600 defines itself by investment in community, relationship with the natural environment, appreciation of its compelling history and inspiration for the future. The locality was recently awarded a Community Business Launch (CBL) grant, totaling $40,000, to train entrepreneurs and fill vacant downtown storefronts with expansion or start-up ventures. Coupled with American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) allocations being made toward improving Scottsville’s Historic District, the CBL award and other local investments are making a positive impact, and I’m confident that we’re going to be hearing a lot more about Scottsville over the coming months and years as the community continues to thrive and reach new heights! Stay tuned!

Photo Credit: Town of Scottsville