Saginaw Community Information

Let yourself be a kid again at the Mid-Michigan Children's Museum or the Children's Zoo at Celebration Square.  Soak up the sights and sounds of a world-class performance at Downtown Saginaw's historic Temple Theatre, or visit the Japanese Cultural Center & Tea House, treasured as one of the most authentic in North America. Saginaw is also known for its unique festivals and events. You'll find yourself savoring the local flavors at our Downtown Farmers Market, or swaying to the beat of live music performances at one of our many outdoor festivals.

If you're looking for adventure, you'll love visiting one of the largest wetland ecosystems in Michigan, the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge, or setting out for an action-packed boat tour of the Shiawassee Flats with Johnny Panther Quest Adventure Trips.

Whether you're here to relax with retail therapy, venture out to find some of nature's most scenic wonders, or rediscover simple family fun, you'll find there's a little piece of Saginaw meant for everyone.

Live in Saginaw

Saginaw County is located in the central portion of Michigan's lower peninsula, in the economically diverse Great Lakes Bay Region (Saginaw, Bay and Midland Counties). Saginaw County, with a population of more than 200,000 residents, is a hub of research, product development, and manufacturing for the auto, chemical, silicon, advanced materials, and nanotechnology industries. Here you will find unique opportunities to partner with some of the world's experts in Solar, Medical and Advanced Manufacturing research and work side-by-side with well-established and start-up companies on the cutting edge of new technologies.

Its automotive sector is headed by Nexteer Automotive's world headquarters, TRW Automotive, GM Powertrain Saginaw Metal Casting Operations. Saginaw County is home to a number of additional suppliers to these large automotive based facilities.

Saginaw County is a source of numerous opportunities in a variety of industry sectors. Hemlock Semiconductor Corporation, the world's largest producer of polycrystalline silicon, has invested $2.5 billion over the past six years in new expansions.  The Saginaw County-based company supplies the raw material that is in one out of every three electronic device and is also used in solar panel construction.

Saginaw County is the Great Lakes Bay Region's medical center with Covenant HealthCare and St. Mary's of Michigan servicing 26 counties, and is an established regional service area for professional services, such as accounting and legal specialties. The Great Lakes Bay Region also has a strong position as a retail and tourist destination, which coincides with exceptional quality of life. Agribusiness continues to be a solid industry sector as well.

Saginaw Ranking

Site Selection Magazine named Saginaw-Saginaw Township North as the number six Top Metro Area for New and Expanded Facilities in 2010 for population between 50,000 and 200,000. Nine projects met the criteria, which does not include retail, government, school and hospital projects. They must meet at least one of the following: at least US$1 million investment, create 50 new jobs or add at least 20,000 sq. ft.

Saginaw County was ranked fourth out of 83 Michigan counties for Percent of Workforce Employed In Information Technology according to a recent study by the Michigan State University Community and Economic Development Program. Rehmann, with headquarters in Saginaw, was listed as one of Detroit Metro Area's 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For. The company is the second largest accounting firm in Michigan behind Plante & Moran.

Delta College was named to Community College Week's top associate degree producers list according to Community College Week (out of 1,200 community colleges nationwide in 2010). The Saginaw Metro Area was ranked Number 8 for Cost of Living and Number 44 for Culture & Leisure on the Forbes Magazine Best Small Places List.  Saginaw County was named One of the 100 Best Communities for Young People in the Nation by America's Promise. Recently the Saginaw area was ranked One of the Top 5 Best Places to Live for Cost of Living by . According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics a higher percentage of the Saginaw County workforce is employed in engineering and architecture than the United States.

Saginaw is home to the largest group of cardiovascular surgeons in the State of Michigan - Michigan CardioVascular Institute. Saginaw County is home to five major hospital facilities that provide a wide array of medical services. Synergy Medical Education Alliance offers five, community-based, fully-accredited residency training programs in emergency medicine, family practice, internal medicine, general surgery, and obstetrics and gynecology.

Saginaw County is 23rd in the nation in sugarbeets harvested, 28th in the nation in dry edible beans harvested and third in soybeans harvested in the State of Michigan.

The Michigan Travel Bureau ranked Saginaw County the Number 3 Tourist Destination in the State of Michigan. The Birch Run - Frankenmuth exit off I-75 in Saginaw County is the second busiest exit for tourism in the nation, second to Orlando, Florida.   Saginaw is home to the Saginaw Spirit Hockey Club, which is a member of the Ontario Hockey League. The Spirit hosted the 2007 Bell OHL All-Star Classic.   Saginaw County has over 541 acres of park land with year-round recreational opportunities. Saginaw has 26 public and private golf courses, 30 parks and an 82-acre trail system for skiing or hiking.

Saginaw County is home to 15 museums, 34 meeting facilities, 43 hotels, 12 bed & breakfasts and 67 different religious denominations.

The City of Saginaw received a Tree City USA designation from the Tree City USA® program, sponsored by The National Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the USDA Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters. Requirements include, a tree board or department, tree care ordinance, community forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.

Saginaw Education & Universities

To meet the needs of the new economy, Saginaw County has developed an educational infrastructure with 20 public and charter school districts providing PK-12 instruction. In addition, Saginaw County offers the choice of more than 35 area private and parochial schools. Most schools have technical programs available to help students obtain instruction with and in new technology.

Saginaw County has numerous tools in place to benefit today's students. The school system provides a comprehensive curriculum taught by highly qualified teachers with gifted and talented educational opportunities, quality career and technical education programs, youth sports, before and after school day care and much more. Click for links to some of our PK-12 school sites.

The following programs serve as conduits between schools and employers to ensure that an available, competent and productive workforce is ready to meet the changing demands of current and new businesses.

  • Saginaw Career Complex works with parents, businesses, and community partners to provide students with a technologically-rich education and instill in them the value of lifelong learning.
  • Saginaw County Business and Education Partnership is a 501 (C) (3) organization of education and business leaders working together to create a competent and productive workforce ready to meet the changing demands of businesses.

These are just a few examples of the educational infrastructure in place to benefit Saginaw County students. A strong extended educational infrastructure exists within the county to meet the needs of students who want training after high school. Educational opportunities are available through traditional university training at local colleges and universities, along with alternative opportunities.

Post-Secondary Institutions

A campus type environment has evolved in the region with over 24,000 college students in the immediate region, and more than 10,000 students within a half hour drive.  That is more than 34,000 goal-oriented workers to meet your labor force needs.

Higher educational opportunities are available through local community colleges and universities. Over the past decade, strong enrollment growth has spurred investment in infrastructure and technology to provide the best facilities for learning with the latest advancements.

  • Saginaw Valley State University has a current enrollment of nearly 10,000 students. Enrollment has steadily increased since its first class of 199 students in 1963. Over 94 programs of study are offered at the undergraduate and graduate level including the nations first graduate program dedicated to multi-media technology.
  • Northwood University is a private university specializing in managerial and entrepreneurial education. Northwood operates three residential campuses, one of which is located in Midland.
  • The Great Lakes Bay Region is also home to Delta College, a community college offering Associate Degrees in a variety of fields, such as chemical technicians and information technology.
  • Davenport University, which offers two and four year degrees, also has campuses in Saginaw and Midland Counties.

Saginaw Shopping & Entertainment

Saginaw County and the Great Lakes Bay Region have also worked to solidify its position as a retail and tourist destination for the greater region and the state. With an average share of 16.0% Retail employment on the regional level, the area has enjoyed a comparative advantage having an approximately 15.6% higher level of employment dedicated to this sector than the nation and the 12.5% higher than the state.

Saginaw, Bay and Midland Counties each have large malls, downtown shopping districts and quaint communities that offer unique shopping.

The Accommodation & Food Services sector has seen a 0.65% increase in employment share since 2005.  Retail and tourism locations within the Saginaw economy provide many shopping opportunities.

Recently the Michigan Travel Bureau ranked Saginaw County the Number 3 Tourist Destination in the State of Michigan.  Saginaw County has 26 public and private golf courses and is home to 15 museums, 34 meeting facilities, 43 hotels and 12 bed & breakfasts.

The Birch Run I-75 exit, which also connects to Frankenmuth, is the second busiest exit for tourism in the nation (outside of Orlando, Florida). Birch Run and Frankenmuth are two of the top three destinations in Michigan.

Prime Outlets of Birch Run is a large outlet mall boasting over 130 stores. If you are looking for indoor/outdoor entertainment and events, stop by the Birch Run Expo Center where they may be hosting a motorcycle show, a dog, cat or horse show, or even Shipshewana on the Road.

The exit also connects you to Frankenmuth, Michigan's own "Little Bavari"." Frankenmuth is an internationally known tourist destination and it continues to make improvements.  Zehnder's Splash Village Hotel & Water Park made a $14 million investment in the community.

Visitors come to Frankenmuth from all over the United States and the world to shop at the world's largest Christmas store Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland, and to eat a world-famous chicken dinner at the Bavarian Inn or Zehnder's Family Restaurants.

Zehnder's of Frankenmuth and the Frankenmuth Bavarian Inn have been ranked in the top 100 highest grossing non-chain restaurants in the United States according to Restaurants and Institutions. Zehnder's ranked number one in guest count and served 984,190 meals in 2008, with the Bavarian Inn serving 839,973 meals.

Chesaning, like many mid-Michigan towns, started as a lumbering community. You'll see it in the beautifully restored lumber baron's mansions throughout town. One of Chesaning's signature events is the Chesaning Showboat, an annual week-long variety show that draws the likes of the Oak Ridge Boys, .38 Special, Three Dog Night and Lonestar. The Showboat has been providing families with a down-home good time each year since the 1940s.

Bargain hunters know Chesaning for its antique shows and sidewalk sales. A new event for the is the Saginaw County Harvest Festival held at the Saginaw County Fairgrounds in Chesaning. The Holiday Candlelight Walk features the historic homes decorated for the holidays and open for public viewing. Make your reservations early for the North Pole Express and Santa's Village, where kids and their families are magically transported to the Santa's Village at the North Pole aboard an authentic steam train.

Saginaw Arts & Culture

Saginaw County and the Great Lakes Bay Region provide many unique arts & cultural opportunities. Built in 1927, the historic Temple Theater in Downtown Saginaw features a classic Barton pipe organ and shows the best in classic movies, art films, concerts and the Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra. Every year, Saginaw's Pit and Balcony hosts a series of plays in its own 289-seat theater.

The area has a number of additional cultural attractions including the Japanese Cultural Center and Tea Garden, and local artists display their work at the Andersen Enrichment Center. In Frankenmuth, Michigan's #1 tourist destination, visitors enjoy the German atmosphere found year round in the downtown shops and restaurants.

The Dow Event Center's 7,600 seat Wendler Arena is home to the Saginaw Spirit Hockey Club (a member of the Ontario Hockey League) and its 2,200 plus seat Heritage Theater has hosted entertainers from Sesame Street Live to Jerry Seinfeld.

Summer would not be complete without outdoor concerts on Ojibway Island and the Saginaw Fireworks.

Saginaw County celebrates its past and culture through its museums and galleries. Saginaw Valley State University houses the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Gallery, a permanent collection of more than 200 works by the world famous sculptor. The gallery also hosts monthly art exhibits by students, faculty and guest artists.

The Castle Museum of Saginaw County History contains artifacts from the area, as well as traveling exhibits from the Smithsonian Institution. The newly renovated Saginaw Art Museum is another Saginaw County treasure that display everything from Ancient Near Eastern ceramics to contemporary paintings.

The Military and Space Museum in Frankenmuth has a tank and F-4 jet on display, as well as military uniforms and information on Michigan war veterans.

Saginaw County History

The Saginaw community is located in Mid-Michigan, in the Great Lakes Bay Region made up of Saginaw, Midland, and Bay Counties.  It's comprised of slightly over 800 square miles of excellent agricultural land, forests, waterways, and industrial areas.

  • To the south are the major industrial cities of Ann Arbor and Detroit.
  • To the north are Michigan's wonderful natural attractions of lakes, recreation areas, and the Upper Peninsula.
  • To the west is the heart of Michigan.
  • And to the east is Michigan's Thumb, an area renowned for its admirable farming industry. Saginaw is a community truly situated at the center of Michigan and all of its attractions.

The earliest evidence of a population in the Saginaw Valley is from Paleo-Indian nomads of around 12,000 years ago. They came to the Saginaw Valley to hunt the mammoth and other big game. They left behind them permanent records of their existence in some of the most valuable archaeological sites in Michigan. The population changed from nomadic Paleo-Indians to the Early Archaic culture, then to the Middle Archaic culture, when the first permanent Indian settlements were made at around 3000 B.C.

The Early Woodland cultures followed, including the Hopewell Indians - the prehistoric mound builders - who settled along the Saginaw River around 500 B.C. By the time the first European explorers and missionaries arrived around 1650, the Late Woodland Indians were occupying the river settlements. The name Saginaw is derived from an Ojibway term "O-Sag-e-n"n" or "Sag-in-a-"e" that means "to flow o"t" and probably refers to the outflow of the Saginaw River into the Saginaw Bay. The Ojibway were one of the Late Woodland Indian cultures.

Immediately after the War of 1812, the American Fur Company established a trading post on the west side of the Saginaw River. Fort Saginaw was built at what is now Court and Hamilton Streets in 1822 but, due to the mosquito-infested swampland surrounding it, it was abandoned in 1823. In 1836, Saginaw City, population 400, was founded by Norman Little.

By the middle of the century, the population grew to 900, due in part to the German immigrants who established agricultural settlements in the area. Due to infusions of capital by Jesse Hoyt of New York, residents flourished on the eastern side of the Saginaw River as well and East Saginaw was incorporated as a village in 1854.

The value of the land's forests was heavily publicized by Norman Little and in 1855 there were 23 sawmills in the area producing a hundred-million board feet of lumber a year. By the 1880s, two sawmills alone each produced over 50 million board feet.

Intense rivalry and competition developed between Saginaw City and East Saginaw, with the latter being much more prosperous due to funds given by Jesse Hoyt. The rivalry resulted in many civic improvements for both, and a severe case of one-upmanship between the two communities. Architecturally, East Saginaw prospered quite well, with an elaborate 1898 French chateau-style post office (today it's a museum) and a grand Richardsonian-style library built in 1890 named the Hoyt Library. The library was made possible by a gift of $100,000 from Jesse Hoyt in 1883, plus additional funds afterward.

From the late 1800s to the current day, Saginaw (the combination of both Saginaw City and East Saginaw) has seen its share of memorable events, tragedies, and accomplishments. It saw the transition from carriage works to one of the country's first automobile dealerships, from peacetime activities to being a key manufacturer of wartime materiél. It saw its residents become famous, such as actress Marie Dressler and cowboy actor Tim McCoy. It had part of itself destroyed in a terrible fire and severe floods, and rebuilt to greater proportions. By virtue of it all, the people of the community of Saginaw can be proud of their heritage.

Saginaw County Housing Information

People who relocate here agree that Saginaw County provides sound affordable housing in a market that gives you multiple choices. The Saginaw housing market is one of the most affordable in the nation and the cost of living in the Great Lakes Bay Region is considered amount the most reasonable in the country.

Saginaw County 8th Most Affordable Market in the Nation:

  • In its annual survey of most- and least-affordable housing markets, BusinessWeek ranked Saginaw County the 8th most affordable in the nation for 2009. Great Lakes Bay Regional partner Bay County was ranked 6th.
  • To calculate the most- and least-affordable areas, BusinessWeek considered the share of homes sold in the second quarter of this year that would have been affordable to a family earning the local median income. Housing costs were calculated using new and existing sales records supplied by First American Real Estate Solutions and include principal, interest, estimated property taxes, and insurance.

Saginaw Easily Beats the National Average:

  • Saginaw County offers you more for you money in housing compared to other areas in the country. In 2009, the National Association of Realtors stated that the Current Median Home Price in Saginaw County ($67,400) was well below the national median of $173,500. Simply stated, Saginaw offers you homes that are less expensive than in other states.

Numerous Saginaw Options:

  • Building a Saginaw dream home is a reality. Saginaw County provides the opportunity to build a new home that fulfills your every need with new neighborhoods developing around the county.
  • Saginaw is a blend of urban and rural settings that suits almost any preference. City homes and quiet country residences are available for more than reasonable costs.
  • Convenience is another important factor for buyers and Saginaw County delivers with a number of large homes within a short drive to Downtown Saginaw, shopping districts and MBS International Airport. For those interested in upscale urban settings - Saginaw has those properties too.

Saginaw's Buying Alternatives:

Saginaw County meets the needs of those interested in other housing options or new county residents looking to eventually purchase a home. There are numerous apartment and condominium communities in Saginaw. Rent prices are some of the most reasonable in the state and there are many housing choices that range from townhouses to rental homes.

Saginaw Medical Facilities:

When it comes to medical facilities and health care, Saginaw county is proud to boast that it provides some of the most advanced medical technologies in the nation.

Saginaw is the advanced multi-specialty care provider for nearly a quarter of Michigan's Lower Peninsula. This has given the region a wealth of state-of-the-art health care facilities and some of the Midwest's most talented providers.

This puts a tremendous amount of health care knowledge and experience in our own back yard, and offers a pool of employees, advisors and medical directors well-versed in nearly every specialty.

It also offers the sort of medical research capabilities one would expect to find only in a Top 10 market. Saginaw County is a leader in research in the neurosciences, cardiovascular health, radiation oncology and many other fields.

Saginaw County is home to 591 health care providers that includes regional hospitals - Covenant HealthCare and St. Mary's of Michigan, along with the Aleda E. Lutz VA Hospital.

Saginaw County also has a residency training organization for physicians called Synergy Medical Education Alliance, which partners with Michigan State University.

Its residents rotate among Synergy member hospitals that have a combined bed capacity of nearly 1,000, and feature state-of-the-art facilities.

With its headquarters in the former Michigan National Bank Building in Downtown Saginaw, Health Delivery Inc. (HDI) provides medical services without regard to race, beliefs or ability to pay. HDI serves over 40,000 individuals throughout 14 counties in Michigan.

Sports & Recreation

Minor League Sports:

With a national reputation for great sports, top-notch facilities and youth-friendly hospitality, Saginaw County offers the best of all world's for your sporting event. We're home to two professional sports teams - the Ontario Hockey League's Saginaw Spirit and the Los Angeles Dodgers' Class "A" Mid West League affiliate Great Lakes Loons.

Wildlife and Fishing:

Leisure and recreational opportunities abound in Saginaw County - also home to the 9,400 acre Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge and fabulous river-based events. With the largest confluence of rivers east of the Mississippi River - we're home to one of the largest natural fish production areas in the country and fishermen flock to our rivers and Bay to enjoy many sport-fishing opportunities.

Saginaw County is a popular destination for nature enthusiasts eager to participate in birding, fishing, boating, hunting and paddle sports. The Saginaw and Tittabawassee Rivers are considered world-class trophy walleye fisheries. These rivers meander through the state's second largest national wildlife refuge which offers over 13 miles of trails and access to a diverse array of forests, fields, wetlands, rivers and open-water habitats. From canoe racing to kayaking near active bald eagle nests, this region has incredible water-based natural resources.

Great golf is here!
Tee up in Saginaw and the Great Lakes Bay Region, where long fairways, rolling hills, and challenging greens await at more than 20 golf courses. We're proud to be home to three championship courses: Apple Mountain - Freeland, The Fortress - Frankenmuth, and the Sawmill - Saginaw. The Fairways of the Valley features special golf and hotel packages which entitle golfers to play all three of these courses and two nights lodging at one of the participating hotels.

Saginaw Soccer

Sports are big business in Michigan's Saginaw Valley and soccer gives our local economy one of the biggest kicks. The Saginaw Township Soccer Complex will be the largest premier complex in the region offering 21 regulation fields.

Bowling in Saginaw County

With more than 170 bowling lanes, an abundance of billiard tables and dart boards, this region is a high-energy destination for tournaments and competitions in these always-popular sports.

Rail Trails

The Great Lakes Bay Region also offers miles of rail trails for walking, running, biking or blading. Check out the Great Lakes Bay Region Trail Alliance for more information.

Primary Employers

Covenant HealthCare is Saginaw County's largest employer. Featuring the newest da Vinci HD (High Definition) Robotic Surgery at Covenant HealthCare in Saginaw, Michigan.

Community Links

Source: Saginaw Future An economic development corporation serving the County of Saginaw, Michigan, and all the municipalities