Allegan County, located along the sandy shores of Lake Michigan, is a very interesting mix of communities, with a wide variety of resources and unique features. With a 2010 population of 111,408 Allegan County is the third largest county in Region 8. The County’s population increased by 36.6 percent between 1980 and 2010; this rate of growth was similar to Region 8’s rate of 39.8 percent and much higher than Michigan’s growth rate of 6.7 percent. Projections indicate Allegan County’s population will continue to grow and by 2030 will reach 135,498. With 24 townships, Allegan County is larger than a “standard” Michigan county. The County has eight cities and two villages.
Covering 832 square miles, the County has many smaller urbanized areas that are all separated by rural territory. The majority of Allegan County’s land used for industrial purposes is located in the northwest corner of the County, but industrial uses are also spread amongst the County’s other cities. Commercial uses are located in all of the cities, and most residential uses are in and immediately around the County’s cities. Allegan County has a diverse agricultural base, with almost half the land in farms and including everything from blueberries to dairies, corn and soy to hog and poultry operations. The County is ranked the #1 county in Michigan in total value of agricultural production.
The County’s natural features are varied and include Lake Michigan and many miles of sandy beaches and dunes, the Kalamazoo River, and many nice recreation-related lakes including the western shore of Gun Lake. The Allegan State Game Area is a huge area that shapes development capacity in Allegan County. Natural and built features influencing development include Lake Michigan, the Kalamazoo River, I-196/US-31, and US-131.
The County is well served by north-south expressways including US-131 along the eastern boundary of the County and US-31/I-196 along the western boundary. More leisurely drives are possible along the M-40/M-89 Corridor from Plainwell to Holland or M-222 from Martin to Allegan.
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