The Providence Community Center is set to be renamed after former Fairfax County Board Supervisor and House Delegate James M. Scott.
At last week’s Board of Supervisors meeting, Providence Supervisor Dalia Palchik introduced a board matter initiating the process of renaming the Providence Community Center in Oakton after Scott.
Scott was a longtime county supervisor before being elected to the House of Delegates by a single vote in 1991. He’s known locally as a supporter of human rights, affordable housing, and school-based daycare centers. Scott also founded the nonprofit Celebrate Fairfax, according to Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross.
In addition, he’s the namesake for two county awards: one that recognizes achievement in building design and planning and the other for “community spirit.”
As a state delegate, he pushed for letting people register to vote by mail, at DMVs, welfare offices, and employment centers. He also got a bill passed that required gubernatorial candidates to appear and personally endorse the content of their political ads as a means to reduce negative campaign advertising.
He was also an “early proponent of making the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a holiday,” per Palchik’s board matter. Scott died in 2017.
During the discussion, a number of supervisors chimed in about Scott’s impact and legacy in the county.
“I think about Jim a lot, I really do. He was definitely ahead of his time in a lot of ways…Above all, he cared about community,” Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn said. “To put his name on a community center is such a wonderful thing.”
Chairman Jeff McKay noted that when he first met Scott, he was introduced to him as “Mr. Community.” Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity also applauded the renaming.
“He was from a different time — a better time, I would say, in terms of the Board of Supervisors,” Herrity said. “He was really about community and getting things done for the citizens of Fairfax County… I couldn’t think of anything more appropriate than naming the community center after him.”
While the approval of Palchik’s board matter starts the process of renaming the community center, it remains unclear officially when it will actually happen.
“We will be working with the Dept. of Neighborhood and Community Services on developing a timeline,” a spokesperson for Palchik’s office wrote FFXnow in an email.
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