Benzonia

Community Profile
Spotlight on Benzonia
Lakeside Retreat

If you’re looking for a quiet lakeside community, this is the place for you. Benzonia Township—encompassing the villages centers of Beulah and Benzonia—provides idyllic Michigan vacation scenery with the quaint offerings of rural living.

Why Benzonia?

Redevelopment Ready Site Logo

Benzonia is an attractive and picturesque community for older adults, due to its high quality of life and distance from large urban centers. It is located right on US-131, which makes for easy travel to the rest of the state when needed. Because of the large retirement population, many of the housing stock is made up of second homes, meaning there is a large market for short and long-term rentals. 

Though the population trends older, younger families also have a lot to love about Benzonia. Children go to Benzie Central Schools, with an Elementary School right in the village center. 

For those families, there are employment opportunities found locally and in nearby Manistee or Frankfort/Elberta. The school system and healthcare clinics are large employers in Benzonia. The nearby Little River Casino Resort in Manistee and Crystal Mountain Resort to the southeast also provide a lot of job opportunities. Work related to tourism—such as food service and lakeside businesses, and the two golf courses within town limits—represent growing opportunities, as well as jobs related to elder and health care. 

Not only is Benzonia right on Crystal Lake, but the 27 mile Betsie Valley Trail goes right through town. The Betsie Valley Trail is a hiking and biking rail trail that runs from Frankfort to Thompsonville, and is a major recreational asset to the region. Benzonia is lucky enough to have the trail run directly through town as it abuts on the shores of Crystal Lake. 

Benzonia Township Recreational Area has a dog park, as well as the Osprey Disc Golf Course. There are two pavilions that residents and tourists use for gatherings, and the baseball diamonds and soccer field are enjoyed by all ages. In the wintertime, an ice rink is created in the center of town. 

Annual events, such as Winter Fest, 4th of July, and Easter Egg Hunt, as well as ongoing Music in the Park and arts fairs throughout the summer keep residents and visitors entertained. The Beulah Public Beach offers lake access, and the Crystal Lake Golf Course and Pinecroft Golf Course both offer greenspace for golf-enthusiasts to enjoy.

The Beulah and Benzoia Community Investment Area is a hidden gem. Tucked away from the more well-known urban centers, this lakeside community has robust development opportunities. It provides a quiet escape, but is right at the intersection of two easily-traveled routes. The 27-mile Betsie Valley rail trail offers recreational connection to the surrounding area, and the shores of Crystal Lake provides excellent views and investment opportunities. Benzonia Township is the only jurisdiction in Benzie County that has approved of marijuana to be produced and sold both recreationally and for medical uses.  

 

 


 
Traverse Connect: Serving Benzie County, Grand Traverse County, Kalkaska County, & Leelanau County 
Traverse Connect is the lead economic development organization for the Grand Traverse region, which supports area businesses through a combination of business attraction and retention strategies, talent development efforts, and strategic coordination among partner agencies. Traverse Connect now serves the region as one organization supporting business growth and development, alongside partner organization Venture North Funding and Development.
Population
2,728
Total Population
3.2%
Decrease in Population since 2010
48%
Percentage of Population in Beulah/Benzonia Ages 25–64
Income
$54,000
Median Household Income in Benzonia Township
Housing
1,028
Households in Benzonia Township
2,126
Housing Units
82.8%
Homeownership Rate
44%
Seasonal Housing
$186,600
Median Home Value in Benzonia Township
$578
Median Monthly Rent in Benzonia Township
Education
35%
% (#) of Population 25+ with a Bachelor's Degree or higher in Beulah/Benzonia
42%
% (#) of Adults in Beulah/Benzonia Region with Higher Degree
Schools in Benzonia
Benzie Central Middle School, Benzie Central Sr. High School, Crystal Lake Elementary School, Benzie Academy
70.3%
4-Year Graduation Rate at Benzie County Central Schools

Investment Opportunities

Historic school building. Potential for an apartment building or other commercial project.
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156 Feet of US-31 frontage close to the shopping district in Benzonia. Excellent visibility on this mostly open lot.
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This level lot provides 150’ of frontage on US-131. This would be a great opportunity for investment or future business sites.
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3.58 acres on busy US-31. Zoned Industrial with lots of potential. 40x60 pole barn with two heated offices, restroom and well/septic. Three phase electric and drive cut from US-31. There is 400+ ft of frontage on US-31 for great exposure for your business or grow operation.
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So many uses for this commercially zoned 8.52 acres with a 2 bedroom, 1 bath log home and larger barn. This is a great location for your business ideas and there is high traffic counts on the newly improved Benzie Highway. Also zoned for Micro Grow Facility. Located just south of Benzonia with high traffic and tourist counts.
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Economic Development

Recent Private Investments

Five Shores Brewing Company
Size: 6,500 sq ft
Capex: $1,000,000 | Jobs created: 18
Lucky Dog Restaurant and the Cool Kat Ice Cream Parlor
Size: 9,000 sq ft
Jobs Created: 25
Midori Farm and Products; Lake and Leaf Retail Store
Size: 24 Acres
Jobs Created: 200 jobs anticipated by 2022

Recent Public Works Projects

Beachfront Upgrades
Cost: $300-400,000 | Type: Recreation
A series of grants enabled the upgrade of Beulah’s waterfront beach areas to complete new walkways and docks for tourist use.
Benzie Boulevard Streetscape
Cost: $800,000 | Type: Streetscape
New streetlights and sidewalks completed in 2017 to make the commercial downtown area more pedestrian-friendly and spurring investment for private businesses.
Water Upgrades
Cost: $5 million | Type: Utilities
In 2019, Beulah completed upgrades and replaced about 40% of the water mains.
Benzie County Central School Bond
Cost: $39 million over 25 years | Type: School
In October 2020, Benzie County voters approved a 25-year, $39 million proposal for school upgrades. Highlights include the construction of a new kindergarten through fifth grade elementary school, which will replace Crystal Lake Elementary; adding two early education classrooms to Lake Ann Elementary; replacing the roofs; upgrading HVAC systems; remodeling the science labs; increasing security measures; building a new bus garage and buying new buses every year for the next decade; and improving technology throughout the district.

Infrastructure

Electric Provider(s): 

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

Natural Gas Provider(s): 

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

AmeriGas Propane
Business service: 1-800-263-7442

Coyne Oil and Propane
Business service: 231-384-8055

Tri-Gas Company
Business service: 231-882-0120

 

Broadband/Fiber Provider(s):

Eclipse Communications
Commercial Service: 231-421-6279

Viasat
Business Service: 1-866-463-8862

HughesNet
Business Service: 888-652-3603

CenturyLink
Business Service: 1-877-897-1123

 

Water Provider(s): 

Village of Benzonia
231-882-9981   

Population
2,728
Population
3.2%
Decline in Population Since 2010
48%
Age Distribution as of 2018 — Between 25 & 64
8.7%
Percentage of Non-Whites Living in Beulah/Benzonia
Education
42%
Percentage of Adults in Beulah/Benzonia with a Higher Degree
35%
% (#) of Population 25+ with a Bachelor's Degree or higher in Beulah/Benzonia
Employment
25.7%
Percentage of Jobs in Benzie County in Accommodation & Food Services
4,299
Total Jobs in Benzie County
Housing
1,028
Households in Beulah/Benzonia
2,126
Housing Units in Beulah/Benzonia
82.8%
Homeownership Rate
44%
Seasonal Housing
38%
Percentage of Housing Units Built in the Past 40 Years
Income
11.2%
Poverty Rate
64%
Percentage of Beulah/Benzonia Households with Income $15,000–$99,000

Community Resources

Featured Organizations 

  • Grow Benzie
    Non-profit community center located in rural Benzie County with a focus on healthful foods, jobs and life skills. Their 4-acre campus includes an event center, commercial kitchen, shared office space, incubator farm, and community garden.
     

  • Crystal Lake Community Business Association (CLCBA)
    Non profit organization hosting up north seasonal events for families including fireworks, fall fest, Crystal Lake Marathons and more.
     

  • Benzie Area Historical Society & Museum
    The Benzie Area Historical Museum, owned and operated by the Society, collects and preserves artifacts, photos, and stories about Benzie history.
     

  • Benzonia Public Library and Mills Community House    
    The Mills Community House was built in 1909 as a dormitory for Benzonia Academy, and now serves as a local landmark and community space. The Benzonia Public Library has been the middle floor tenant of the building since 1925.

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.

Contact

Jason Barnard
Benzonia Township Supervisor/Zoning Administrator
supervisor@benzoniatownship.org
(231) 882-4411 ext. 15

Dan Hook
Village of Beulah Village Council
danhook2@charter.net
(248) 496-5003

Rick Coates
Executive Director, Benzie County Chamber of Commerce
director@benzie.org
(231) 882-5801