Four Fluvanna centers welcome county’s seniors

By Ruthann Carr, Correspondent

The first senior center in Fluvanna began in a private home near Dixie some 45 to 50 years ago, according to Faith Stuart’s research.
They now meet in four different locations throughout the county.

Senior center tour

In a neat room with tables and comfortable dining chairs in the Fork Union building on Route 15, Stuart pulled out several old photo albums.

She directs the senior programs under the auspices of the Jefferson Area Board for Aging (JABA) and Fluvanna Parks and Recreation.

Stuart looked through the pages for a particular picture of an outing she thought was one of the oldest. She found the shot of several people milling around a school bus, obviously ready to go out. It looked to be taken in the 1970s.

Stuart carefully peeled the picture from the glue on the album page.

Sure enough, the back was marked January 1973.

For the longest time seniors only met at the Fork Union location on Route 15 next to the new fire station. But now each area of the county has a center: Cunningham/Scottsville at the VFW Post 8169, Kents Store at the Agricultural Recreation Center (ARC) building and Troy’s Beaver Dam Baptist Church.

Stuart said all of the sites welcome the seniors at no cost. If there is a special outing, attendees pay that fee, but nothing to rent the buildings.

“I think it’s important [for people] to know about the buildings we use. I want to praise the people who donate the building and the electricity,” Stuart said. “And that the centers are a resource for seniors and the community.”

They welcome speakers.

“It’s a good resource if you have something you want to promote,” she said. “We give speakers a 45-minute slot – to teach them about something, to warn them about something. I prefer the speaker not be selling something or promoting fear.”

It was post commander and all-around involved senior citizen Bill Hughes who talked about having seniors meet at VFW Post 8169, said current commander Jimmy Christian.

“He came up with it because there was nothing here in this part of the county and wanted to have something here,” Christian said. “So we thought it was a great idea and said yes. That was three or four years ago, I think. We offer it to them free of charge. They come in and do their thing. They don’t make a mess. And it’s a great thing.”

About the same time, Jim and Barbara Bowles started talking to Jonathan Pace at Parks and Recreation about having seniors meet at the ARC in Kents Store.

“About a dozen to maybe 20 meet twice a month on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month,” Barbara Bowles said.

The county not only uses the ARC building for seniors, but also as a polling place for the Columbia District. The building needed quite a few repairs. Because of the county’s interest in and use of the building, in February the Board of Supervisors voted to use $30,000 from the fiscal year 2018 Board contingency fund to help make repairs to the building.

Barbara Bowles said the repairs have been made and they just had an open house to show it off.

“We wanted people to see the improvement: a new roof, heating and air conditioning, [the] bathroom and kitchen were upgraded with new flooring and sinks, they replaced pipes and the subfloor,” she said. “We added a lot of additional lighting.”

Jim Bowles’ parents were both presidents of ARC and when he and his wife retired, they decided to put their time into helping the center thrive.

“We’ve had a fun time getting it going – working with local plumbers and contractors,” he said. “We got excited with everyone working together. We like the idea of having the building to use as a community service like that.”

The fourth center at Beaver Dam Baptist Church in Troy just opened earlier this year.

A total of about 65 to 80 seniors are served at all four centers. The only criteria for joining the group is being 55 years or older, Stuart said. Attendees socialize, plan trips, play games and do projects to help non-profits and the homeless. They also get a free lunch provided by JABA.

To learn more about the centers, contact Stuart at 434-842-3150 or

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