Glenwood Resource Center (KMA photo)

The Glenwood Resource Center’s closure in 2024 will leave a large gap in that southwest Iowa community. The facility for people with intellectual disabilities is Mills County’s largest employer.

Glenwood Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Rachel Reis says the community is beginning to have conversations on how to shift.

Reis says, “This may be a transition and a growth period for our county to kind of look at things a little differently, and to set ourselves up differently so we’re not so dependent on one large employer.”

Reis estimates more than 500 Glenwood-area residents’ jobs will be impacted. The center for people with severe intellectual disabilities has been in Glenwood for over 150 years.

Mayor Ron Kohn says he believes its closure could lead to many of its families and employees looking to new communities for support and jobs.

“The possibility of a similar job opening up is not very likely,” Mayor Kohn says, “and so that presents a serious challenging environment for them to decide what their future is going to hold.”

Kohn says the community is already working to see what will take the care center’s place. He says it could be an opportunity for the town to grow and diversify.

The state announced the plan to close the facility earlier this month after a U.S. Department of Justice investigation found residents in the facility were subject to harmful experimentation and poor medical care.

(Kendall Crawford, Iowa Public Radio)