The Arrowhead Regional Development Commission (ARDC) is a multi-disciplined planning and development organization whose jurisdiction encompasses the Northeast Minnesota counties of Aitkin, Carlton, Cook, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake, and St. Louis.

The mission of ARDC is to serve the people of the Arrowhead Region by providing local units of government and citizens groups a means to work cooperatively in identifying needs, solving problems and fostering local leadership.

In accordance with the Minnesota Regional Development Act, the Commission serves as an advocate for local governments in Northeast Minnesota, provides leadership in the development of projects that benefit the Arrowhead Region and serves as a catalyst to identify needs and seek solutions to issues of regional significance. This role is especially important with regard to problems and opportunities that are multi-jurisdictional in scope or impact. Throughout its existence, ARDC has developed numerous planning and implementation programs aimed at meeting the needs of the Arrowhead Region.

ARDC also serves as an umbrella agency for a wide variety of local, state, and federal initiatives. These programs include services to aging, human services, transit, transportation, metropolitan planning, economic development, community development, and natural resources. Other responsibilities of ARDC include the development and maintenance of resource data to support the preparation of comprehensive development plans for units of government.


Regional Development Commissions (RDC’s) were established by Minnesota State Statute, their purpose outlined in the Regional Development Act.

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October 1, 1972 through a $55k grant awarded by the Governor’s Citizens Council on Aging, ARDC initiated the Arrowhead Planning Program on Aging.  At the time there was 38,417 persons aged 65+ representing 11.7% of the population. In an effort to utilize existing expertise within the Region ARDC contracted with the Human Resources Planning Coalition (HRPC) and the Arrowhead Regional Planning Council for Health Facilities and Services (ARCH) to assist in developing the Arrowhead Regional plan for aging.

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As a result of the 1973 amendments to the federal Older Americans Act (OAA), states were required to divide their state into planning and service areas, and to designate Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) to develop and implement programs and services for older persons at the local level.  ARDC’s Arrowhead Planning Program on Aging (APPA) located within the Human Resources Division of ARDC was designated the “Area Agency on Aging” for the region by the State Governor’s Citizens Council on Aging (GCCA).

The Advisory Committee on Aging was formed and became operational.

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In 1996, the Minnesota Board on Aging launched the Senior LinkAge Line® and established call centers in six of the seven Minnesota Area Agencies on Aging. The Senior LinkAge Line® provides a one-stop telephone call for older adults, giving them access to information and assistance.


The 2000 reauthorization of the Older Americans Act added the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP). NFCSP supports individuals caring for older adults and grandparents raising grandchildren. As a result, AAAA has assisted in strengthening and expanding services for caregivers in the Arrowhead region.

In 2006, Congress reauthorized the act and provided resources to implement consumer-centered and cost-effective long-term care strategies. The act empowered the aging services network to implement these strategies through a three-pronged program encompassing person-centered access to information, evidence-based disease prevention and health promotion activities, and enhanced nursing home diversion services.



The 50th anniversary of ARDC.