Community Profile
Community Spotlight: Kalkaska
Room to Grow

The county seat of Kalkaska County, Kalkaska boasts a historic town center surrounded by forests and natural beauty. This quaint community is known for its hard work in industries like logging, agriculture, and manufacturing. What was once a central hub for the oil business, Kalkaska is now innovating to attract and grow new industries to the area.

Why Kalkaska

Redevelopment Ready Site Logo

Kalkaska Township skews younger than much of the rest of Northwest Michigan, with nearly 30% of the 4,799 residents under the age of 25 and another 25% of the population in the prime working, 25-44 year old range—a sign of a robust workforce and family-based community. Kalkaska Public Schools, which includes Crawford School, Kalkaska Alternative Program, Birch Street Elementary School, Cherry Street Intermediate School, Kalkaska Middle School, and Kalkaska High School, have an 82.7% graduation rate. The Traverse Bay Area Career-Tech Center serves juniors and seniors in the Kalkaska Public School system. The center offers training in 23 career fields utilizing the latest technology and state-of-the-art equipment. *Evaluating Redevelopment Ready Community status.

Kalkaska is home to a robust selection of housing options with 2,637 housing units. Seasonal housing comprises only 13.4% of housing units in the community, compared to 36% for the county at large. The Kalkaska region has a diversity of housing units, with 10% built before 1940 and 36% built in the past 40 years. Kalkaska’s median home value, $97400, and median monthly rent, $646, both fall below the county as a whole. A stable population with a 68% home ownership rate means a solid, affordable housing stock that matches housing demand.

Active freight lines running through town mean ample opportunity for shipping bulk commodity goods, and Kalkaska is in pursuit of developing intermodal transport stations to make these lines more responsive to modern industrial needs. Busy M-72 which runs through the township is a 30 minute connection to I-75 and straight shot to Detroit, while another major highway, US-131, brings drivers from Kalkaska to Chicago in a matter of hours.

Kalkaska is applying its strengths in transport and logistics to grow the emerging and expanding regional cannabis industry. With a testing center and licensed transport facility, many growers from around the region ship cannabis product to Kalkaska for distribution across the state.

Over 15% of the county is employed in the Healthcare and Social Services industry, and the Kalkaska Memorial Health Center alone employs over 600 people. Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation, along with Construction, and Manufacturing, make up 34% of all jobs in the County. The public schools and local government administration are also major employers. Of the 2,399 workers living in the Kalkaska Township community, 61% work locally in Kalkaska County.

Featured Employer

American Waste is a locally owned company headquartered in Kalkaska spanning back over 40 years, the company. With a company mission, “People working together, building relationships that are unrivaled through collaboration, innovation and dedication,” American Waste and its affiliate Northern A-1 Environmental Services are committed to community and sustainability in Northern Michigan. 400 plus employees enjoy a wide range of benefits and a safe, innovative working environment. 






Year-Round Recreation

With 50% of Kalkaska County covered in state and federal forest land, Kalkaska offers unique opportunities for year round recreation. Kalkaska is a winter sporting enthusiast’s paradise, averaging 120 inches in annual snowfall! A destination for fishing, camping, skiing, and more, Kalkaska has been designated as a “Trail Town.” The North Country Scenic Trail, enjoyed by hikers, equestrians, mountain bikers, ORV, and snowmobilers, runs right through Kalkaska on its way back into the Pere Marquette State Forest. The Bell's Beer Iceman Cometh Challenge is the longest point to point race in North America. The 29-mile race from Kalkaska to Traverse City has been held 29 years in a row every fall. 

Visitors are quick to notice the Trout Fountain in downtown Kalkaska, which at nearly 20 feet tall commemorates the official state fish, the brook trout. The National Trout Festival has been running for over 80 years and brings thousands of visitors to Kalkaska every spring. The Kalkaska Historical Museum is another local gem, featuring relics of the area’s past history in logging, agriculture, and manufacturing, nestled in the Train Depot building in the historical downtown district, which dates back to the early 1900s.

The Kalkaska County Library in the Township serves as a community resource, and the Kaliseum Recreation Center provides ample opportunity for community sports and fitness programs.



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.

Investment Opportunities

The Templeton Property is 44 acres of industrial land, served by highway and rail, consisting of commercial lots along US 131. The community is interested in developing these parcels for major commercial business use.
Learn More
Median Age
Median Household Income
Rent as Percentage of Household Income
Housing Units
Homeownership Rate
Seasonal Housing
Median Home Value
Median Monthly Rent
Worked in Kalkaska
Median Household Income
Population with High School at Highest Level of Education
Percentage of Population with High School as Highest Level of Education
Population with Bachelor's Degree as Highest Level of Education
Percentage of Population with a Bachelor's Degree as Highest Level of Education
4-Year Graduation Rate—Kalkaska Public Schools
Schools in Kalkaska
Crawford School, Kalkaska Alternative Program, Cherry Street Intermediate School, Kalkaska High School, Kalkaska Middle School, Birch Street Elementary School

Kalkaska County is part of the growing Grand Traverse region, located in the lower Peninsula of Michigan and surrounded by rail, highway, airport and trails. Its county seat, the village of Kalkaska, is not too far from Northern Michigan’s beautiful forests and fields and boasts unique regional assets and employers, including a hospital, high-quality schools and historic downtown.

Economic Development

Planned Public Works Projects

New Railroad Square Public Space Amenities
Type: Public Space
This multi-acre property right in the heart of downtown will be developed into an area for events and festivals, and will include a pavilion, information center, kitchen space, bathrooms, parkways, food truck court and more. This project will shape the complexion of downtown with new developments, retail, and attractions. Cost: $3.9 M
North Country Trail
Type: Highway/Road/Rail Development
Trail-head added on US 131, and a non-motorized bridge built over the Boardman River. The North Country Scenic Trail, enjoyed by hikers, equestrians, mountain bikers, ORV, and snowmobilers, runs right through town on its way back into the Pere Marquette State Forest, designating the community as an official “Trail Town”. Cost: $400 K
Population Change Since 2010
Percentage of the Population Under Age 45
Percentage of the Population that is White
Poverty Rate
Labor Force
Workers Who Live In & Are Employed in Kalkaska
Percentage of Jobs in Health Care Industry
Total Jobs
Housing Units
Homeownership Rate
Seasonal Housing
Percentage of Housing Units Built In Past 40 Years

Service Providers

Electric Provider(s): 

Consumers Energy   

Business service: 1-800-805-0490

Region 2 Economic Development Representative

  • Michele Eaton 

  • 989-293-1841

  • Michele.Eaton@cmsenergy.com

Great Lakes Energy 

Business service: 1-888-485-2537

  • glenergy@glenergy.com

Natural Gas Provider(s): 

DTE Energy  

Business service: 1-855-383-4249

Broadband/Fiber Provider(s):


Business service: 1- 855-226-3557

Water Provider(s): 

Village of Kalkaska Municipal Water


Community Resources

Featured Talent Development Resources

With healthcare and social assistance as one of Kalkaska’s leading employers, Northwestern Michigan College (NMC) and Munson Regional EMS have partnered to offer an Associate in Applied Science Degree (AAS) with a Paramedic focus. All general education classes are offered at NMC. All paramedic classes are offered through Munson Regional EMS. It is designed so students can transfer 43 paramedic credits from Munson Regional EMS to NMC. Once an additional 18 or more general education credits are completed as identified in the NMC program map, the student will earn an AAS – Paramedic.

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.


Cash Cook
Director, Kalkaska Downtown
Development Authority

(231) 258-9191



Traverse Connect

Traverse Connect continues the legacy and the leadership of the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce, strengthening its focus on serving all businesses with a comprehensive suite of programs and services. 

Learn More About Traverse Connect