History of Polk County Developmental Center:

 A view of the Talimena Scenic Drive in Mena, AR.

A view of the Talimena Scenic Drive in Mena, AR.

Dedicated to serving individuals with disabilities for over 30 years, Polk County Developmental Center, Inc. (The Polk County Developmental Center) is located in Mena, Arkansas, in the heart of the Ouachita Mountains, the only east-west mountain range west of the Mississippi River. A group of concerned parents and citizens of Polk County, Arkansas organized The Polk County Developmental Center in 1972.  Services were initially provided in Mena First Baptist Church. In 1976 funds were secured from private and state organizations to build a 3500 square foot building on donated land in Mena (now Polk County Developmental Center Jumpstart Daycare at 1410R. Amsterdam). Adult and preschool services began in late 1976. Physical therapy services were added in 1982. Initial numbers were 17 adult clients, 5 preschool children and 7 employees.

In 1985 The Polk County Developmental Center Resale Store was added to provide work-training skills for the Adult clients. The Resale Store was initially located on Sherwood Avenue for a few months. It was deemed necessary to locate to a facility to house the donations of used merchandise. The Store was next located on Highway 71 South and Reine Street. It was there for approximately four years.

In 1986 it was decided to expand through building a residential facility for developmentally disabled women. Funding was secured for construction for AVANTS Group Living Center, Inc. through Housing and Urban Development. A nine-bedroom Group Home was completed in late 1986. The Polk County Developmental Center is the management agent for the group home.

In 1990 The Polk County Developmental Center purchased property on Morrow Avenue and remodeled the old skate barn into The Polk County Developmental Center Resale Store. The building was remodeled again in 2004 in order to expand the sales area and client work area and to add administrative offices.

In 1999 the Adult Work Center was built on Morrow Avenue next to the Resale Store. All adult services moved from the Amsterdam location. The Work Center houses adult education classrooms as well as the Recycling Center. In 2009, The Polk County Developmental Center purchased an additional building on Eagle Gap. This building is currently being used to sort donations for the Resale Store.

In 2011 a 4,050 square foot addition was added to the back of the Resale Store to increase staff and client work areas. The sorting of donations was then moved from the Eagle Gap building to the new work area. This addition was made possible through Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality Grant Funds and funds raised by Polk County Developmental Center.

In summer of 2014 Polk County Developmental Center purchased the Education Station building for Jumpstart Daycare. The old Jumpstart Daycare building is now the Adult Education & Wellness Center.

In winter of 2014 Polk County Developmental Center opened up “Just For Kids” Resale store located at 811 Eagle Gap.

As of spring of 2016 The Polk County Developmental Center serves 42 adults with disabilities and 25 preschoolers. The Polk County Developmental Center has 60 employees.