Months After Opening, McKenney’s Ragsdale Community Center a Resounding Success

By: Sherry Williams Kidd | Email: Click Here
Posted: Dec. 6, 2017 | 3:30 p.m. 

MCKENNEY – It has now been approximately six months since the May 2, 2017, opening of McKenney’s Ragsdale Community Center. Its opening was greatly-anticipated by the many residents of McKenney in Southern Dinwiddie, that were routinely making the trip all the way to the Eastside Community Center in Northern Dinwiddie, to use that facility.

Upon the tragic deaths of Robert and Betty Ragsdale in 2005, the old former Alleen Clothing factory was left to Dinwiddie County, with the provision that whatever it was used for, it must serve the community.

After numerous delays, budget constraints, and intense community fundraising efforts, the McKenney Community/Recreation Center finally came to fruition.

The Center hosts a large variety of classes, activities, and community events. It is also home for the McKenney branch of the Appomattox Regional Library System, and the location of McKenney’s Virginia Cooperative Extension. The facility is located at 20916 Old School Road in McKenney. Hours of operations are Monday through Friday, noon to 8:00 p.m.; Saturday, noon to 5:00 pm. (facility rental hours for Saturday noon to 8:00 pm.); and closed on Sunday.

According to J. Rayfield Vines, III, Director, Parks, Recreation, and Tourism, “The Center has surpassed all our expectations. During the short six-months since our opening, we have averaged over 1,000 residents coming in and using the facility each month. The Center has so much more to offer than a traditional community or recreational center.”

The Center offers a large variety of recreational and leisure activities for absolutely everyone–from young to old. The opulent Building Supply Ballroom is designed to host a wide range of recreational classes, programs, special events, and private rentals. The room has seating for 70, a stage, kitchen, audiovisual equipment, and attached outdoor patio. A variety of classes, training, and programs are planned for the Center’s Computer Lab.

These will teach, and prepare residents and the future workforce, in a variety of the much-needed computer skills areas.  Be on the lookout for the announcement of computer programs coming soon!

The Seniors’ Lounge is available for adults 55 years of age and over.  The area is designed to provide the senior population a place to gather and enjoy recreational activities and programs just for them. The room is suitable to play board games, work on arts & crafts, host socials, dances, or book clubs; or perhaps just to sit back and relax while watching a favorite television show.

The Crittendon Family Conference Room is an ideal location to host board meetings, training sessions, seminars, and planning meetings. The room is available for private rentals and has seating for 14, and includes a 65-inch flat-screen television available for presentations and videos. The Multi-Purpose Room has seating for 30, and is designed for a wide range of recreational classes, programs, special events, and private rentals.

The Lounge is open to the public whenever the facility is open (during normal business hours). It has comfortable furniture, a 65-inch cable television, and free access to Wi-Fi.

There are also enormous opportunities for the children at the Community Center. The Stepping Stone Academy/Sunnyside Craft Room hosts a large variety of cultural programming classes and activities. Children have fun participating in Lego Night, Crafty Creations Classes, or Family Game Nights! The Kids’ Zone Indoor Play Area is where kids love to come and play! The indoor playground encourages kids 8 and under to be active, and to explore, climb, and play in a fun and safe indoor environment—rain or shine!

The Game Room is a comfortable place for residents of all ages to relax and have fun while enjoying one of the three gaming systems, various board games, two foosball tables, a pool table, and two air hockey tables.

For the workout enthusiasts, the Aerobic/Fitness Studio is 1,400-square-feet, and has a variety of programs and classes promoting health, physical fitness, and nutrition. It also has a 65-inch flat-screen television with sound-bar. The CrossFit Exercise Room is popular  in the Community Center, averaging 200 patrons a month. It  has two treadmills, a recumbent bike, a spin bike ,and 5 stack universal weight machines.  Residents can sign up and work out for one dollar per hour, and forget the hassles of paying for a monthly gym membership. Many Residents using the Center for working-out report that this is truly an Enjoyable and less stressful way of exercising and keeping fit.

In addition to the numerous programs, activities, events, equipment, workouts, classes, etc. offered at the Center, it is also South Dinwiddie County’s location of the McKenney branch of the Appomattox Regional Library System, and the location of McKenney’s Virginia Cooperative Extension.

The Robert and Betty Ragsdale Community Center is also available for rental for private events by residents and nonresidents. The Ragsdale Building Supply Ballroom / Fort Lee Credit Union Performance Stage, The Crittendon Family Conference Room, and the Chip and Trae Rutledge Multi-Purpose Room, are all available for private rental.

For more information on rental fees, or on any of the numerous classes, programs, or activities, go to, or contact the recreation staff at (804) 478-6146.

Dinwiddie County Administrator, Kevin Massengill, said “I am extremely proud of the Dinwiddie County Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism. The services they provide for the community through athletics, cultural programs, and well-maintain facilities, have set a new standard throughout the County and Region. It is not a surprise that the Ragsdale Community Center has been so well-received, and it is truly a testament of great collaboration between the County, Appomattox Regional Library System, Virginia Cooperative Extension, and the community at large. I have no doubt that this Center will continue to grow and prosper for many years to come.”

According to Vines and Residents using the facility, if the first six-months are any indication, “The Center is a resounding success!” McKenney’s Ragsdale Community Center, what an amazing and wonderful gift to the residents of Southern Dinwiddie County.

Copyright 2017 by Womack Publishing
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