Dedication ceremonies were held last week for the new Arc of the Ozarks office building in Monett. The agency that serves developmentally disabled individuals in Barry and Lawrence counties its new permanent facility by unveiling a stone marker.
The Arc of the Ozarks purchased the former Smart Start daycare center facility at 1010 Old Airport Road in March. In July staff moved in after the facility was remodeled. Prior to that, Arc rented office space on Dairy Street.
John Foley, chief executive officer for Arc of the Ozarks, officially greeted the group gathered outside the facility for the dedication. Foley extended appreciation to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development program for funding used to help purchase the building. Thom Conus from First State Bank was acknowledged for his assistance in completing the transaction.
Foley thanked the Barry County Tax Board for the Developmentally Disabled, which provided $100,000 toward the building's purchase, and the Lawrence County Tax Board, which provided $5,000 for remodeling,
Recognition was also extended to Alice Wise and Dick Johnson, former board members of the Barry-Lawrence Association for Retarded Citizens, before the organizations merged. Wise and Johnson now serve on the Arc board.
"We've moved the office three or four times due to growth," said Mike Powers, executive vice president of Arc of the Ozarks. "At last we have our own facility."
Much of the remodeling was done by Arc of the Ozarks staff. The 6,825-square-foot building provides office space for around 15 people daily. Arc operates its day program in Monett from the facility as well as its supported living and jobs program. Rooms for meetings and activities were open for public viewing. A reception was held in a large multi-purpose room,
"Our mission is to support individuals with disabilities and their families to become active members of their community," said Powers.
Monett Mayor Jim Orr provided background on the organization. Arc of the Ozarks for incorporated as a not-for-profit service agency in 1963. Local volunteers affiliated with the national Arc organization helped establish a preschool program for children with mental retardation and worked to change public attitudes toward individuals with developmental disabilities.
Arc of the Ozarks now serves 700 individuals in 10 counties. The Monett office serves clients in Barry and Lawrence counties.
"It's been said it takes a village to raise a child," Orr said. "It takes good service organizations to serve a community."
Orr congratulated the Arc for its milestone. He joined a staff member with one of the Arc's clients in unveiling a metal placard at the base of the flagpole in front of the entrance.
The placard bears the Arc of the Ozarks logo and reads: "This facility is dedicated to supporting individuals with disabilities as they live and work as valued members of this community. Sept. 23, 2009. Thank you to our sponsors: First State Bank, Department of Agriculture, Barry County Board for the Developmentally Disabled, Lawrence County Board for the Developmentally Disabled."
After the ceremony, guests were invited to tour the facility and enjoy refreshments.