MAILBAG: Village is part of township?

Jim of Spring Lake asked, "My understanding of the evolution of the Spring Lake Village and Spring Lake Township is that it used to be one government."
Mark Brooky
Sep 21, 2012

 

one government. The village then elected to "release" the township making it its own entity. Now the village is attempting to disincorporate. My question is, would the township be required to accept the village, and wouldn't that place a greater burden on the township?"

ANSWER:

Your question is a political hot potato in Spring Lake, Jim. I'll attempt to answer it without getting into the middle of all the political debate over the disincorporation issue. I think Tribune reporter Marie Havenga has been covering that issue very well.

So, to the first part of your question: Yes it once was, but you have to go way back, many years before the Civil War — and yes, it still is.

Originally called Mill Point, what is now Spring Lake Village was part of Norton Township, organized in 1839. In his big local history book, "Grand Haven: In the Path of Destiny," Dr. Dave Seibold says the name Spring Lake was first used in 1849 when Norton Township split into Crockery and Spring Lake townships. The body of water called Big Bayou was slowly shifted to being called Spring Lake shortly after that.

Mill Point became Spring Lake Village in 1867, and was officially incorporated as a village in 1869.

Seibold says the early Village Council shared the old Park Street School for meetings and elections with the Spring Lake Township Board.

If you would like to read more on the subject, look over Seibold's comprehensive 2007 book at the local libraries. It can be purchased at the Tri-Cities Historical Museum. The history of the village is Chapter 8 and the history of Spring Lake Township is Chapter 12.

Now, for the second part of the answer. In Michigan, villages are also part of — and somewhat under the jurisdiction of — the surrounding township, but cities are not. For example, the City of Grand Haven and Grand Haven Township are completely separate; but you'll find Spring Lake Township offices in the Village of Spring Lake, and village residents pay township taxes as well.

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