Is Ovid evolving or standing still? A bedroom community figures out what it is to be

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By Kenedi Robinson
Clinton County Chatter Staff Reporter

OVID — According to an online data site, Ovid has increased in population and home income constantly since 2000.

In that time, the population grew by 6.5 percent, to more than 1,600 residents, according to city-data.com.

A lot of workers in the area live in Ovid, but drive to other cities for their employment, such as General Motors in Lansing or Flint, says Greg Palen, a township official.

“I think this area has the potential to grow. Especially being the bedroom community that it is. We’re just not far from a lot of city’s that offer employment,” says Palen.

However, Palen says that it was actually that increase that caused the township to apply to become a city a few years ago. That’s when things changed a little.

According to Palen, the population in the city of Ovid hasn’t changed much since, but the population in Ovid Township and Ovid Village, which still exists on the outskirts of the city, decreased drastically.

The decrease was due to the baby boomers moving their families out of town because of the lack of employment opportunities in the township.

The largest employer in Ovid is Michigan Milk Producers Association, and the second is the Ovid-Elsie school system. Both of these businesses, however, can’t hire everyone.

The school population alone has been constantly declining, says Palen.

The average income for Ovid Township and village combined was $29,000, with a third of the households being retired.

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Palen also believes that their more unusual specializing businesses might bring up their population also. Places like their scrapbooking store and quilting and yarn shops that seems to be doing extremely well.

For people who live and work in the actual city of Ovid, many of them haven’t noticed an increase, or decrease in population around them.

For a lot of them, they agree with the two biggest employers around the area, but there isn’t much else.

One thing that they can all agree on is that the city, township, and village combined are a bedroom community.

According to Paul Dionne, planner for the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission, townships becoming cities isn’t an uncommon thing.

In fact, he was just dealing with something similar in Mason not too long ago.

“I guess you could compare the two,” said Dionne, “Similar to Act 4.25, when the township has been growing long enough and can agree to give a certain amount of land to a city and not square off a particular boundary, it’s just a matter of applications and land use.”

Originally the town was only there to be a stop for the railroad, but it grew bigger than expected, according to Palen.

However, a recent development program called Rails to Trails that is sponsored in part by Meijer and runs across three counties are receiving a maintenance and development fund to improve their area, according to Sue Palen, Greg Palen’s wife.

It creates a non-motorized recreational trail that the citizens can walk or bike whenever they please.

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