By Rachael Daniel
Living in the Ledge Staff Reporter
When it came time to relocate his mother, Bob Haddad Jr. wanted to choose a city she could fall in love with, a place small enough to feel like home, and large enough to keep her active and secure.
After working for over 30 years in Grand Ledge at his own insurance agency, Haddad’s Agency, he knew the small, welcoming community was the perfect match, even without actually living in town.
“When I had the opportunity to choose the community, I chose Grand Ledge. It has that small town feel, but it is still big enough to get the services that you need,” said Haddad. “You almost feel like you are living in your own little world, but at the same time you are only 15 minutes from a larger city.”
Haddad is nowhere near alone in his appreciation for the town of Grand Ledge. Its residents can not seem to stop talking about the long list of reasons to love Grand Ledge.
According to small town expert and author of “Small Town Rules” Becky McCray, Grand Ledge has everything that typically draws people to small towns.
“People are drawn to small towns for the quality of life,” said McCray. “Factors like a sense of community and belonging, an ability to make a difference, slower pace of life, lower cost of living and doing business, and connections with family and heritage all contribute to that quality.”
However, at the top of almost everyone’s list is the strong sense of community. The pride for the town can be felt in every person who walks down the street.
“Everyone is always helping each other out and looking out for one another,” said resident Emily Burns.
The people who make up the community are each their own reason to love Grand Ledge, said Grand Ledge High School senior Taylor McCrackin.
“I think our community is really what makes me love Grand Ledge. Everybody knows everybody around here,” said McCrackin. “Grand Ledge is surrounded by people who just love to socialize and spend time helping each other and trying to better the community.”
Grand Ledge Mayor Kalmin Smith said he agrees with the majority of the community that residents are typically friendly and welcoming, but also appreciates their ability to be blunt and brutally honest.
“Unlike some places I have lived, most people who live here are friendly to strangers and new arrivals,” said Smith. “On the other hand, if they are angry with you, they let you know. In both cases they are open and honest and that makes it so much easier to work with people and get things done.
Smith also values the vast diversity of the people who make up the community.
“What I like most about Grand Ledge are the people who live here,” said Smith. “The community is very diverse with a great mixture of backgrounds and educational attainment.”
Resident Jordan Stevens said that even though Grand Ledge is a small community, there is still plenty to do to stay entertained.
“One of my favorite aspects is all the city parks, which are well kept and great for our family,” said Stevens.
Resident Mark Bond said he also enjoys the Grand Ledge outdoors and wishes more people in Michigan knew about the ancient sedimentary rock outcroppings called the Ledges that are located in the 78-acre Fitzgerald Park.
“My family and I love coming out to the Ledges to get some fresh air and see something beautiful,” said Bond.
Grand Ledge Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Andrew George has several reasons for being in love with Grand Ledge.
“[I love] the school system, the fun activities that are always going on like festivals, parades, parks ball games and plays, the beautiful Ledges, taxes are low in comparison to other surrounding areas, and Grand Ledge is a great place to raise a family,” said George.
According to Stevens, above all, Grand Ledge residents are unique in their intense focus on the community and helping others.
“What I love about Grand Ledge is it’s a beautiful small town, with a good neighborly community, said Stevens. “People are quick to help others, and are good, kind people”.