WEST MICHIGAN Our region has a distinct culture, lifestyle, and economy. We have some of the country’s fastest growing industries including advanced manufacturing, life sciences, agribusiness, renewable energy, aerospace and defense, and information technology. Besides having great jobs, West Michigan has a low cost of living, which makes it a great place to start a career, raise a family, or retire. Urban city, small town, or rural areas—the West Michigan region has a diverse set of communities catering to everyone. No matter where you live, you’re just a quick drive, or maybe even a short walk, from work, schools, volunteer opportunities, and cultural events. Many towns and attractions in our region repeatedly top national “Best of” lists. There’s plenty of fun to be had too. Whether you’re into outdoor recreation, arts and music, professional sports, or the local food scene, West Michigan has exciting activities no matter what your idea of “fun” is. Blue waters, pristine beaches, craft breweries, delicious eateries, miles of trails, top-notch museums, charming shops, and professional sports will keep you busy through the four beautiful seasons in West Michigan. WHY WEST MICHIGAN? CLICK HERE
LOWELL Lowell is located in Lowell Township and is situated on the eastern border of Kent County. This town is located at the mouth of the Flat River where it flows into the Grand. Lowell is often referred to as the Showboat City with its riverboat show held every summer. (The showboat can be seen to the north from Main Street at the dam). Lowell’s downtown area has been restored, complete with a town clock and Victorian style lamps along the sidewalk that accent the turn-of-the-century architecture seen in so many of its buildings. The dam in the center of town allows for a great view of the Flat River, with a walkway to the north. A huge grain elevator stands in the background to the south flying Old Glory. This is a great place for a walk or to spend your lunch hour watching the falls. Lowell was first settled in the 1840’s by Daniel Marsac who built a trading post there and called it Dansville. In 1851 it was renamed Lowell, after the township, when the railroad went through. Lowell was named after a city by the same name in Massachusetts to attract people from that state to come to Michigan to settle here.
ROCKFORD Rockford is located in northern Kent County. Rockford is a great town for both shopping and recreation. Its malls, downtown business district and Squires Street,( a restored section of downtown the way it used to be), offer a variety anyone can appreciate. It is also an active and friendly community, with a diverse range of commerce and businesses. As for recreation, the big attraction is the Rogue River, where fishing, canoeing, biking and hiking are at their finest. (Check out the Steelhead in March & April!) Rockford is also centrally located near many other recreational opportunities, such as golf, skiing and camping. Rockford comes alive several times during the year with special celebrations, including: “The Start of Summer” the second weekend in June, (featuring arts & crafts, a carnival, special foods, music, etc.), “Come fall in Love with Rockford” during Valentines week, and the Harvest Festival, running 2 weeks beginning the last weekend in September. This features a tractor pull, a chili cook-off, and more.
CALEDONIA Caledonia is located in southeastern Kent County in the township by the same name, approximately 30 miles south of Grand Rapids.. This area was first settled in 1838 by Asahel Kent, who moved there from Ohio. Like many other communities in western Michigan, the township was named after a city in New York in order to attract people there to move to Michigan. The area grew with the coming of the Grand River Valley Railroad until in 1870, a depot and post office were built – named “Caledonia Station.” In 1884, the name was changed to Caledonia, with incorporation into a village in 1888. Once a farming community, Caledonia today has become significantly linked with Grand Rapids as a commuter city. At the same time, it has also retained its distinctiveness and economic growth. Situated in a hilly area on beautiful Emmons Lake, this is an ideal place to live, with a delightful balance between country and city.
ADA Ada is located in Ada Township, approximately 6 miles east of Grand Rapids in central Kent County. This picturesque town with its country charm is located at the mouth of the Thornapple River flowing into the Grand. It contains a downtown area and adjacent mall, accented by colonial and country style buildings and small shops. As such, it is considered to be an ideal commuter suburb to the greater Grand Rapids area. Historically, this town was the site of a trading post set up by Rix Robinson from Massachusetts in 1821 – whom many consider to be the first settler to the western Michigan area. The Detroit & Milwaukee Railroad built a station here in 1853, which led to the further development and stabilization of the town during and after the lumber era.
CASCADE Cascade Charter Township is situated in the southeastern section of Kent County, approximately 10 miles southeast of Grand Rapids. One of the most defining features of the Township is the Thornapple River, which divides the Township into east and west halves. Originally a part of Ada Township, Cascade sought separation in 1848. Cascade quickly began to grow, and in 1854 the first General Store and Post Office were built. St. Mary’s Catholic Church and the Cascade Flour Mill were built in 1856. By 1876, Cascade’s population had reached 1,200. In 1890, a Township hall was built. This original hall stands as the Township Museum. Today, Interstate I-96 makes its way through the Township, as does the South Beltline Freeway, M-6. In addition, Gerald R. Ford International Airport is situated within the Township boundaries. Commercial establishments within the Township include large supermarkets, several hotels, restaurants, retail plazas which offer a wide variety of goods and services and many professional office buildings. Products produced by manufacturers in the Township include metal and plastic products for the automotive and aerospace industries, tools and dies, packaging materials, publications and furniture and wood products. Cascade Township continues to grow to the present population of just over 17,000.