Elk Rapids

Community Profile
Spotlight on Elk Rapids
Freshwater Boating Paradise

One of Northwest Michigan’s most vibrant towns, Elk Rapids is sure to charm. Nestled between three bodies of water—East Grand Traverse Bay, Elk Lake, and Bass Lake—with the Elk River running through town, outdoor opportunities abound in this water-rich community. Our beaches, public parks, and marinas are playgrounds for residents, visitors, and freshwater boating enthusiasts alike. In town, bask in Elk Rapids enterprising ambiance by visiting our family-run shops, unique eateries offering fresh local produce, and independent taprooms. Close to several metro areas in Northwest Michigan, Elk Rapids offers a small town vibe with friendly faces, good weather, and a robust local community.

Why Elk Rapids?

Redevelopment Ready Site Logo

Home to 5,136 residents, Elk Rapids has maintained a steady population since 2010. Elk Rapids has a highly educated population: over half of residents over the age of 25 hold a degree, compared to 37% in Antrim County. While many seniors call this community home (31% of residents are over the age of 65), 14% of residents are under the age of 15 and enjoying their education at Lakeland Elementary, Elk Rapids Cherryland Middle School, or Elk Rapids High, and another 9% are aged 15 to 24 and getting ready to enter the workforce. 46% of the population is working age (25 to 64 years old). *Evaluating Redevelopment Ready Community status.

There are 3,834 housing units in Elk Rapids, 37.5% of which are seasonal housing units that serve our robust tourism industries near the shores of Lake Michigan. Additionally, homeownership in Elk Rapids is high, with 80% of occupied units owned by their residents. The median home value in Elk Rapids is $234,000, significantly exceeding the median home value for Antrim County overall ($157,600). 

Antrim County provides 5,400 jobs, 20% of which are in the Manufacturing industry. An additional 29% are concentrated in tourism-focused industries, like Accommodation & Food Services and Retail Trade. The median annual household income in Elk Rapids is $63,200, compared with Antrim County’s median at $52,589. Major employers include the Antrim County Airport, Elks Rapids Public Schools, and independent food and beverage companies like Burnett Foods, Ethanology Distillery, and Short’s Brewing.

Bask on the shores of Lake Michigan at the Elk Rapids Sandbar and Day Parks, or enjoy a day of boating from the harbor or our many marinas. The art lover will want to visit the Twisted Fish Art Gallery or stroll through the Walk of Art Sculpture Park on the south end of town. Retail enthusiasts can shop stores like the Elk Rapids Antique Market and the Stonehedge Gallery Consignment Shop. And history buffs will delight in historic landmarks like the Hough's House Historic Building and Elk Rapids Area Historical Museum. 



The Northern Lakes Economic Alliance (NLEA): Serving Antrim County & Charlevoix County
The Northern Lakes Economic Alliance (NLEA), established in 1984, is a public/private non-profit organization serving Antrim, Charlevoix, and Cheboygan Counties in Northern Michigan. The NLEA works directly with local units of government on infrastructure projects, facilitates local company growth and expansion, and assists many local companies on a wide range of issues that help retain existing jobs and create new jobs.

Investment Opportunities

The 4.2-acre property includes 49 covered boat slips, 62 uncovered boat slips, a waterfront fueling station, a 4,300 square foot showroom/office/mechanic shop, a restroom facility, and a 12,000 square foot onsite storage building. There's also an offsite four-acre property with three storage buildings.
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48,000 sf building, undergoing renovations. Leasing spaces in various sizes and uses.
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Population Change in Elk Rapids from 2010–2018
Population Change in Antrim County from 2010–2018
Percentage of Elk Rapids Population Aged 25–64
Percentage of Non-White Population
% (#) of Adults in Elk Rapids with a Higher Degree
% (#) of Adults in Antrim County with an Associate's Degree or Higher
Schools in Elk Rapids
Lakeland Elementary School, Sunrise Academy, Elk Rapids High School, Cherryland Middle School
4-Year Graduation Rate at Elk Rapids Schools
Housing Units
Homeownership Rate
Seasonal Housing
Median Home Value in Elk Rapids Township
Median Monthly Rent in Elk Rapids Township
Percentage of Housing Units Built in the Past 40 Years
Labor Force
Percentage of Workers Who Live In & Are Employed In Elk Rapids
Total Jobs in Elk Rapids
Percentage of Jobs in Antrim County in the Manufacturing Industry
Median Household Income in Elk Rapids Township
Poverty Rate
Percentage of Households With Income Over $50,000 in Elk Rapids


Electric Provider:  

Consumers Energy  
Business service: 1-800-805-0490


Natural Gas Provider:

DTE Energy
Business service: 1-855-383-4249


Broadband/Fiber Providers:

Cherry Capital Connection


Charter Spectrum


Business Service: 1-877-219-3898


Water Provider: 

Village of Elk Rapids

Economic Development

Recent Private Investments

215 River St.
New housing within the central business district, this 3 story project contains 8 new condominium units within walking distance of several local parks and beaches. Commercial and retail space is featured on the ground level.

Recent Public Works Projects

Village of Elk Rapids
Municipal water main and sewer system replacement. Cost: $15-$25 million on a schedule over next several decades

Community Resources


Featured Talent Development Resources

With manufacturing as Antrim County’s lead industry, area employers can count on Northwestern Michigan College to train students in a variety of manufacturing skills. Rather than focus on a singular area of study, NMC’s Manufacturing Technology program allows students to build their own course of study around their career of interest, such as welding, machining, or advanced manufacturing. Advisors work with students to ensure their courses prepare them for jobs in their area of manufacturing focus.

Economic Development Ecosystem Map

This map shows some of the many organizations in this county providing economic development related services, such as workforce training, development finance, or technical advising for businesses. Use the dropdown in the upper left hand corner to filter by People, Investment, and Place. 

“People” covers organizations that focus on early childhood care, workforce training, equity and diversity, and talent recruitment and retention.

“Investment” includes organizations that focus on industry cluster support, small business investment and technical assistance, innovation and technology development, and real estate and commercial development.

“Place”-focused organizations include tourism, arts and culture, and recreation organizations, planning and development entities, infrastructure and utility providers, and housing organizations.


Village of Elk Rapids 
Kyle Storey, Planning and Zoning Administrator
(231) 264-9274


Village of Elk Rapids 
William J Cooper, Village Manager


Elk Rapids DDA
James Janisse—Council President Representative


David Emmel
President, Northern Lakes Economic Alliance