Kents Store ARC gets facelift

By Page H. Gifford

The Kents Store Agriculture and Recreation Center (ARC) has been around for 60 years. Its original purpose related to the tobacco farming in that area of Fluvanna County. Things are much different now and families who have lived in the area for decades see the potential in using the center for other activities that will enhance their community. But work was needed to update the place.

 “The makeup and interests have changed quite a bit since its original mission when established over 60 years ago,” said Jim Bowles.

It became a community effort and over the past four decades families with deep Fluvanna roots, including the Sheridans, Bowles, and Smiths, have led the way.

“The partnerships with fire departments and local churches, and businesses have been key,” he said. “We want to transition from the “go to” social center of the ‘70s and ‘80s to more of a community service/educational organization. From dances to education. It needs to mirror the realities of our time. That being said, the arts, including live music would still be high on our list.”

A complete makeover of the facility is now complete. Bowles is now looking for various ways to use  the facility for the enrichment of the community, whether it is through the arts or education.

“We believe that the ARC can play a role in community development in that through relevant educational programming, we can bring people together in a way that focuses on what unites us, rather than give in to issues that divide us.”

Bowles said they are continuing to generate funds through the low cost rental of the facility to members of the community for family gatherings and celebrations, partnering with other community organizations, including  the Kents Store Fire Department, to support their  community missions, and Fluvanna Parks and Rec to provide a place for county services, like the senior programs that have been established throughout the county.

“We want to sponsor programs that reinforce and strengthen our community commitment to maintaining a protected rural environment. We want to host educational programs that are fun, and generate broad interest, that people will want come to not only to mingle with neighbors, but to learn something compelling as well.” 

They are planning to have talks by the Fluvanna County Historical Society, as well as to hold dances and feature local bands. He is hoping once the word gets out, residents will make the effort to come forward and create ways to come together, share and learn. “We would love to hear from folks who have creative ideas about ARC programming, who might be interested in taking on a leadership or coordinating role, or who have a topic they would like to share that might have broad community interest,” said Bowles.

For more information, call 804-640-7195.

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