It has been such a great experience to do the internship as being staff at the US local government office. It is the first week that I have worked with the town administrator and town clerk at the town of Scottsville. The first day since I have come to the office, Mr. Matt Lawless, the main town manager, took me around the office and arranged a workplace with full facilities. Then, we did interview four undergraduate and graduate students from some universities around Virginia via phone call. The town of Scottsville often offers the internship program to university students to work at the office around June and August annually. It would be good for students who gain hands-on experience and well prepare for their future career, but also for the town office to get support for dealing with office work. Such an internship program is conducted by the partnerships between the town of Scottsville and the UVA Career Center of the University of Virginia.
Town office of Scottsville
Conducting interview sessions with internship students
Furthermore, we went to Charlottesville city to attend the Form Base Code meeting in the evening. The meeting started around 6:30 – 8:30pm, organized by the County of Albemarle, Virginia. It is the public meeting that includes the county managers, town administrators and residents from many different towns. Its content mainly focuses on the link between zoning mapping plans and property uses (public transport and land use). Also, the meeting goes further to discuss neighborhood planning, car parking, and sidewalk plans. It was surprising that no public meeting in Vietnam is conducted in the evening. Since I am aware that public meeting in the US is a perfect schedule for residents who can engage in and voice out their opinions after work hours.
Mr. Matt and I also attended a meeting at the Historic Courthouse in the Charlottesville. It was an important discussion that the town manager can listen to the issue happening between property owners and building structures and lawyers on how to make decisions on maintaining or demolishing the historic house of Scottsville residents. Then, we visited the data storage of Albemarle County where it stores all data including marriage license, land uses, history of original names of US residents.
Also, we had a chance to meet regional planners of the Planning District Commission in the city of Charlottesville. The town of Scottsville plans to conduct a natural resources committee in the next couples of weeks, so there is a need to find out stakeholders and experts who can involve in the meeting.
Furthermore, we had an around-town tour with residents to discuss and made an urban design plan. We went to Tire Plant, which is one of the biggest plants in Scottsville and not being used in 2018 because of the economic crisis. We also did visit historic banks, proposed retirement areas, and some historic houses. I do much appreciate the ways that they plan to do something now and in the future by linking the story and history from several past decades occurred in the town.
Then, we also attended the County Board Meeting at the Charlottesville city. The meeting started with some presentations of kids’ concerns, and those are currently studying in primary and secondary school. It is a really great opportunity for them to voice out what they concern about their towns, such as environment and climate change, and public transportation. I have not seen this at every meeting in Vietnam.
On the 1st May, Mr. Matt and I participated in a local meeting with residents in the Scottsville Presbyterian Church to discuss how to redesign the Bruce Park in more efficient and sustainable ways. It is an interesting discussion about how the local knowledge of redesigning public park while maintaining the value of culture and history of the west downtown Scottsville. I really enjoy talking with local people and town councils, then I wrote and sent my articles to the publisher of Scottsvilleweekly. Now, it is posted on the weekly news of Scottsville.
On the second of May, we had a meeting with the Architectural Review Board and residents around 7 – 8:30pm at the town office. We did talk about redesigning Bus Depot Renovation, property evaluation and regulations of colorful uses for houses/buildings in the town. It was news to me when residents should be in compliance with the rules of using color for their houses and buildings since they are living in the historic town of Scottsville.
It has been such a great week!