• 37°

Matthews wants to help town grow

Tony Matthews

New Town Manager Tony Matthews has a vision for Kenbridge.

“I want the opportunity to help Kenbridge grow and prosper, to help regain a sense of pride in our community and to help bring some jobs to the area,” he said. “I feel one of the best things about Kenbridge is the small-town feel that is coupled with our desire to move ahead into the next era for the town. We don’t want to lose the ways that paved the avenues before us, but we strive to bring progress and prosperity to everyone who lives here.”

Hired by the Kenbridge Town Council Nov. 19, he officially started in the position Dec. 2. He replaced Robyn Fowler, whose last day was the end of October, and left after five years to take a job at Fort Pickett’s Foreign Affairs Security Training Center.

Matthews, 46, lives in Kenbridge and has a long, loving relationship with the community.

He was in the Navy for more than five years as an Avionics Technician. He worked for Environmental Services Unit of the Virginia Department of Corrections for more than eight years. He worked for Wallace Auto Parts in Kenbridge and Victoria for more than seven years; and owned his own business for more than 25 years managing personnel, finance, customer relations and equipment maintenance.

“I have also been involved with Dixie softball in Lunenburg as the Lunenburg Girls’ Softball Commissioner for 20 years, and have been elected the District One Director for the past three years, handling eight leagues total, Allstars, the District and State Tournaments,” he noted.

He and his wife Beth have a family of eight children, ranging in age from 11 to 25 years old.

Matthews said as town manager, he will be accessible.

“I want to have an open-door policy where people can come and talk about things rather than rely on assumptions,” he said.

Meanwhile, Matthews said Kenbridge recently started to update its website and hopes for it to be online by Feb. 1, if not earlier.

“On our new website, we will have updated photos as well as some of our heritage photos,” he said. “We will have an event calendar that is updated regularly so that anyone who wishes can keep current on events. Another exciting feature will be a way for people to register with our site and receive a text or email that will update our followers of current events, storm warnings, trash updates and so forth.”

The website’s address will remain the same as before at www.kenbridgeva.net, he said. “So, we encourage people to check it out.”

The town also has a Facebook page for information updates.

Kenbridge is going to add a book trade station to Town Hall soon, he said. Dennis Hudson’s shop students at Central High School are constructing a place for readers who have books they wish to share, Matthews said.

“They can place the books inside the station or take a book from the station,” he said. “There will be no charge for this and maybe a great place to circulate some great literature.”

Ultimately, Matthews said his vision would be for residents to have a town they are proud to call home. A place they want people to visit, to live and to patronize its businesses.

Consequently, he wants to help the town’s businesses grow and prosper.

“In (that) end we all have to support one another to make this a success,” he said. “I would hope to be in this position for many years and hope to have a good legacy for the person who will take my place.”