Manistee’s population has remained steady and slightly younger than that of Manistee County, signaling a robust workforce and family-based community. Manistee’s industrial legacy is prevalent in the many historic buildings downtown and large housing stock of historic homes, some of which have been renovated into B&Bs and offices. In addition to this historic charm, housing in Manistee’s attractive residential areas is affordable. In Manistee City the median home value is just about $105,000, and only 10% of the housing stock are second residences, making this a truly tight knit community to call home.
Manistee Area Public Schools includes two elementary schools (John F Kennedy Elementary and Thomas Jefferson Elementary) and Manistee Middle High School, as well as Manistee Harbor Academy, Manistee ISD Center Programs, Casman Alternative Academy, and Michigan Great Lakes Virtual Academy, and boast a 91% graduation rate. West Shore Medical Center serves the community’s healthcare needs.
Manistee Township is home to the two largest employers in Manistee County: the Michigan State Maximum Security Oaks Correctional Facility and the Little River Casino Resort. The Casino Resort, owned and managed by the Little River Band of Ottawa Indian Tribe, is an attraction for visitors and locals alike, complete with hotel, new spa, and concert venue. The West Shore Medical Center, Manistee Blacker Airport, and county offices and schools are among additional local employers. Several national companies have headquarters in Manistee, including PCA and Morton Salt, and are deeply rooted in the community. Over half of all workers who live in Manistee & Surrounding Townships are employed there, reflecting the area’s robust economic outlook. Over a third of Manistee residents have a bachelor's degree or higher, signaling a robust local labor pool.
Manistee also features a robust small business community with lots of independent retailers.Take a boutique pop-up shop tour, or stroll the Riverwalk downtown, which meanders all the way down to Lake Michigan. In rural Onekama and Bear Lake, visit the many wineries and cider mills. Iron Fish, a farm to bottle distillery, uses local grains in their award winning, hand crafted spirits. Small business entrepreneurs are fueled through local efforts like Spark Manistee, which offers $5,000 awards to new startup businesses, and is supported by the local Downtown Development Agency (DDA) and Chamber organization.
Catch spring and fall bird migration at the Lake Bluff Audubon Society Bird Center, and birdwatch all year round at the Arcadia Marsh Nature Preserve. The Arcadia Marsh boardwalk, a 0.75 mile, accessible elevated path that creates easy hiking and birding, and is the gateway to the 400-acre Arcadia Marsh that borders Arcadia Lake and is preserved by the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy. Fish for abundant coho and steelhead, explore more than 150 miles of trail, golf, and boat Manistee’s many recreational outlets.
In town, The Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts is a cultural hub featuring dance, theatre, and music shows, visual arts exhibits, and youth engagement programming. Get a taste for regional culinary treats, local artisans, and Michigan wines, brews and spirits at annual festivals like Grapes on the River, or the Festival of Trees.
The Manistee Area Chamber of Commerce's mission is to build a dynamic and sustainable organization to serve the Business, Workforce and Economic Development needs of all in Manistee County.
Featured Talent Development Resources
With healthcare and social assistance one of Manistee’s top industries, local students can take advantage of the Medical Assistant Associate Degree program at West Shore Community College. Medical Assistants are trained to work in medical offices assisting health care professionals with administrative and clinical tasks, such as recording patients' medical history and measuring their vital signs. Upon completion of the program the graduate will be eligible to sit for the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) exam.
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.
The Manistee Growth and Investment Area includes the City of Manistee, Manistee Township, and Filer Charter Township. Serving as the county seat of Manistee County, the city of Manistee and its surrounding area.
Recent Private Investments
Recent Public Works Projects
Natural Gas Provider:
Business service: 1-855-383-4249
City of Manistee
Little River Band of Ottawa Indians — Utilities
Waste Water Treatment Plant