The Greene Community Center is coming to life in the southern part of Jackson County.

The Rotary Club of Ripley heard about the project during a noon meeting Wednesday, Sept. 12, at Jackson General Hospital.

In the early 1940s, the Greene family gave some land to the Jackson County Board of Education in order to construct a community school. The original facility contained a six-room building for classrooms and a separate building for a kitchen and cafeteria. At that time, there were outhouse-style bathrooms, located across the bridge to the Grange building, that served the school.

In 1960, the first phase of the existing building was begun. Throughout the following years, several additions were made. When the school was vacated at the end of the 2012-2013 school year, the original structure and vacated property were reacquired by the Greene family as per the original agreement.

The current Greene family later approached the Jackson County Commission and donated the building and surrounding property to them for use as a community center. A public meeting was then held to determine what to do with the property.

On Oct. 16, 2017, the nonprofit Southern Jackson County Community Foundation was established. The goals were to determine how to meet the needs of the local community, given the great opportunity at hand.

Through discussion, open meetings, surveys, and analysis collection, the mission of the SJCCF was identified: To promote and manage the Greene Center and generate funding resources and grants for operational needs and expenses of the center.

In honor of the family who made the center possible, the name Greene Center was given and the new mission of the center is to provide Kenna and surrounding areas with a facility that is affordable, accessible, and safe for educational, physical, and social events for residents of all ages.

“It’s all about the kids and the community,” stated Kerynn Sovic, of the SJCCF.

In the past year, over 1,000 volunteer hours have been put in to make the Greene Center available for everyone. Thus far, the gym space, entrance, and numerous classrooms have been cleaned and painted and are ready for use. From getting the proper paperwork to register as a nonprofit organization to holding multiple clean-up days and all the other behind the scenes requirements, the facility is now ready to host its first event.

From 2-5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 23, the Greene Center will be holding an open house. The open house is a chance for anyone that would like to see the abundant renovations and get more information about what is happening at the center. There will be activities for everyone. There will also be tours and light refreshments.

Foundation volunteers will pass out information about a Charity Challenge fundraiser and memorial brick drive. None of this would be possible without the generous donors and volunteers donating their time.

“This will give the kids and members of our community a place to go and something to do that we never had when I was younger, and I feel that is important,” stated Elizabeth Webb, of the SJCCF.

The Southern Jackson County Community Foundation would like to thank everyone who helped prepare for this next step. Anyone who wishes help can check facebook.com/Greene-center or contact the SJCCF by email at sojccf@gmail.com.