All elections are now held at the Benzonia Township Hall.
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About Station 5 Fire Department:
The Fire Department would like say THANK YOU for the overwhelming support from
the community on the passage of the bond proposal for the new Fire/Medical First
Responder Station and Township Offices. This continued support will pave the way
of the Township and Fire Department’s ability to provide services to our community
for years to come.
In other news, our firefighter membership has grown and we now have several probationary
members that have been working very hard to complete the extensive requirements necessary
and soon we’ll be 20 members strong. The calls for service have continued to increase
with 2021 having a record breaking 532 calls for service.
In other big news and after a year in the making, we’ve finally received our latest
addition to our apparatus fleet. The 2021 Rosenbauer Fire Engine will take the place
of our current primary engine (Engine 1), which was built in the year 2000. We have
the new 5 Engine 1 in service to help with the protection of life and property of
the community. Please feel free to stop by the station and take a look at the new
fire engine and the entire fleet.
Our fire department members have been and currently continue to be committed to providing
emergency services to you as a community. We not only provide fire suppression but
medical first response, vehicle extrication, search and rescue, ice water rescue,
hazardous materials (operational level) and fire prevention.
If you are interested in becoming a trained Firefighter, EMT, or Medical First Responder
and are willing to dedicate a small portion of your life to community service, please
contact our Chief, Steve Adams via email
or call the township office 231-882-4411, ext.16. The employment application is on
the Documents & Forms page
The Boy Scout Troop 10 supplies us with the 911 signs. The 911 Sign Application
is available at the township hall or on the Documents &
Trucks in operation:
- 5 Engine 1: Rosenbauer Pumper – 2021
- Engine 2: Class A CAF pumper – 2009
- Tanker – 2006
- Rescue – 2012
- Medical responder – 2009
Some of the equipment being used:
- Scott SCBA (self contained breathing apparatus) – 2012
- Air compressor designed to compress air for the Scott SCBA - 2013
- Turn out gear – 2014
- Helmets – 2014
- Thermal imaging camera – 2014
- Jaws of Life – upgraded 2018
Pictures — click on an image to view larger.
& Township Hall
Our newest 5 Engine
1 Pumper – bringing it home
Fire Chief: Steve
Part of our fall
collection, this is what every well-dressed firefighter will be wearing next year...!
Chief: Brian Putney
Engine 2: Class
A, CAF pumper
does anyone notice the fire behind you...?!"
According to J.B. Walker, one of the first settlers of Benzonia Township, the
name Benzonia is from the Latin and Greek words that mean “good air” or “good area
(zone).” The use of Latin and Greek in its name name is appropriate as the Congregationalist
pioneers came to found a religious colony and sought to start a new college in the
untamed wilds of northwest Michigan.
These first families were largely from Ohio, and the oldest maps of the area list
Benzonia Township as the “Ohio Colony Lands.” Most had connections through Oberlin
College in northeast Ohio. Oberlin College was the first college in the United States
to admit women, and was dedicated to abolition (the freeing of the slaves).
In 1858, inspired by the high ideals of Oberlin College, Charles E. Bailey led a
group of Oberlin Alumni including ministers, teachers, farmers, and business people,
to what is today Benzonia Township. The colonists' “Articles of Agreement and Plans
for a Christian Colony and Institution of Learning” provided that a quarter of the
stockholdrers' lands were to establish and endow the college.
The original political organization of government for the colony was Crystal Lake
Township, and part of Grand Traverse County. In 1861, Benzonia Township was organized
from this, and so the new college chartered in 1863 was named Grand Traverse College.
Over time, the name of the college was changed to Benzie College (1890-1899), and
finally, the Benzonia Academy (1900-1918).
In addition to the college, the main industries of Benzonia Townhip have included
lumbering, farming, and after the lowering of Crystal Lake in 1873, tourism. With
the arrival of the railroad in 1887, resorters began to visit the area's resorts
and build cottages on Crystal and Platte Lakes. When automobiles became affordable,
and roads improved, tourism as an industry continued to grow, especially along the
north shore of Crystal Lake and the south shore of Platte Lake.
Today, except for the college which closed in 1918, that which attracted the original
settlers to Benzonia Township can still be found. The many small businesses, agricultural
products, and recreational activities in the woods and on the water, still attract
visitors and residents to Benzonia Township.
Located behind (west of) Watson Benzie car dealership, Memorial Park is a 30-acre
parcel of land reaching from South Street to Grace Road. The Memorial Park Committee
works with the township board to continue to improve the park. It's used for class
reunions, weddings, family gatherings, ball games, 4-H soccer, and many, many other
To schedule the park, please use the Memorial
Park Usage Form and contact the Township Office at 231-882-4411. We ask that
you schedule large gatherings to assure that the park will not be overbooked.
Please note that we gladly accept donations!
Pictures from around the park — click on an image to view larger.
Dog Park, aka CENTRAL BARK!
Benzie County's first dog park (CENTRAL BARK, Dog Park) is located in the south
east part of the park behind Honor Bank. It’s a great addition to our community and
gives our otherwise leashed doggies a chance to get out and play with their friends.
Benches are located in the fenced in area for humans as well as doggie bags, and
a water station. You must clean up after your pets.
Pictures of the dog park — click on an image to view larger.
The disc golf course is located in Memorial Park at the south end. It’s a 9-hole
course and is open to anyone wanting to play. Donations are accepted to maintain
this fine course. Please call the township with questions.
History of Benzonia Township Memorial Park
In 1956, a local landowner started the formation of Benzonia Township park by
selling 20 acres of land at a great discount to Benzonia High School for a football—baseball
field with the provision that it would always be used for public use.
In 1979, the Benzie Central High School created new fields on Homestead Road and
followed the provision by selling the 20 acres of football and baseball fields to
Benzie County for $1.00. In 1980, a county committee was formed and representatives
of field users were incorporated into a County Recreation Committee. The committee
was Richard Ide, Chairman, from the men's Slo-Pitch, and Gloria Walterhouse from
women's Slo-Pitch. Other committee members represented County Little League, the
High School, and a Benzie County Board member.
In 1980, the Benzie County Board approved the enlargement and development of now
a 30-acre parcel. (The committee had purchased another 10 acres from Harold Ridout
using the same provision of public use.)
From 1980 to 1989, the volunteer committee had developed a full-scale park with four
ball fields – one lighted and a soccer area. All this was accomplished by volunteer
labor, donations, and grants that were available. The Benzie County Board of Commissioners
recognized that the county could not continue to maintain that area, so in keeping
with the provision, Benzonia Township stepped forward and accepted the park and all
maintenance and development responsibilities.
Since 1989, the area has progressed into the very well-developed and fully-used township
park that you see today. This includes a playground area, pavilion, picnic area,
enlarging the soccer area, restrooms, and a volleyball area. There have been over
$100,000.00 in improvements at no direct cost to the township or to taxpayers.
There have also been several Eagle Scout Projects completed at our park. They include
the picnic tables, the entry garden area ,and the storage shed used for equipment
for soccer and little leagues.
The park is kept in beautiful condition for all seasons. The township retains a full-time
maintenance person for the nine-month active season. The township has kept the volunteer
committee intact and is proud to have a non-fee township park open to all people
wishing to use it.
All township ordinances are provided here
on the Docs & Forms page.
Various pictures from around the township — click on an image to view larger
Township Hall &
in the township
Benzonia Township was one of the first townships in Benzie County to adopt a Zoning
Ordinance in the mid-1970’s and since then had three different ordinances until joining
the County Planning and Zoning system in 1994. However, that relationship ended with
the major budget cuts at the county in 2010 resulting in creation of the West Benzie
Joint Planning Commission (WBJPC) by the Benzonia and Platte Township Boards in 2010.
Since then, the two township boards adopted the WBJPC
Zoning Ordinance covering both townships. The WBJPC was also formed as a five-person
board with adoption of a Planning Commission Ordinance having all the powers and
duties of a Planning Commission in the State of Michigan. Both townships have also
adopted by reference the Benzie County Comprehensive Plan (found on this Web page), as amended, as the basis for zoning and planning within the
WBJPC jurisdictional area.
The main contact for zoning and planning services and the WBJPC is housed within
the Zoning/Planning Department of the Benzonia Township Offices — contact the Zoning
Administrator shown on the Board page.
The township has community trash day twice a year, once in May, and once in August.
Watch for dates and times in Upcoming Events on the Home page.
(Note that in 2014, we were able to add an additional day to the yearly schedule
using the money we saved by NOT sending out receipts for the paid taxes!)
Items we Do Not Accept: appliances containing Freon, auto batteries, tires,
any chemicals or hazardous waste, motor oil, paint or thinners, or any yard waste,
including clippings, brush, grass, etc.
Please bring your old household batteries (no car batteries) to the Benzonia township
office to recycle them.
See the Benzie County Recycling and Solid Waste Department page for details
about the program and the current collection dates.
To register to vote, you must be:
- A U.S. citizen
- At least 18 years old by Election Day
- A resident of Michigan and the city or township where you are applying to register
You can register to vote for federal, state and local elections by mail; at your
county, city, or township clerk’s office; or by visiting any Secretary of State office.
In addition, agencies providing services through the Department of Human Services,
the Department of Community Health and the Department of Licensing, and Regulatory
Affairs offer voter registration services to their clients. Military recruitment
centers also provide voter registration services.
You may also register at the same time you renew your driver’s license by mail. Eligible
drivers receive a voter registration application in the mail with their driver’s
license renewal information.
You must register at least 30 days before the election in which you want to vote.
Absentee Ballot Deadlines
If you want an absentee ballot mailed to you, your application must be received
by 2 PM the Saturday before the election. Make your request early to allow for delivery
time. A voter eligible to vote by absentee ballot also may vote in person at the
clerk’s office any time up to 4 PM the day before the election. All absentee ballots
must be received by the clerk’s office no later than 8 PM on Election Day.
More About Elections:
Information concerning an upcoming election is available on line, here: www.michigan.gov/sos Click on ELECTIONS then choose from
there the information you want, including a sample ballot, deadlines, upcoming elections,
As soon as the ballots are available for a given election, you can obtain one at
the Township Clerk's office as well as online.
The Benzonia Township Cemetery is located on Love Road just east of (behind) Shop
‘N Save at US-31. Gates are open from mid-April through December each year. Our Cemetery
Sexton is available to arrange for a cemetery lot, schedule a burial, or answer general
The Cemetery Ordinance is located in the Ordinances
section of our Docs & Forms page.
Our new cemetery program provides a record all of those interred, pictures of the
plots, as well as a map of each section. If you do not find what you are looking
for below, please stop by the Township office.
Benzonia Township Cemetery map,
as of 2/16/2017 — a full map of the cemetery showing sections, lots, and lots
with unsold graves (PDF document, 296 kB, 14" x 23")
Report of those interred at the
cemetery, as of 2/16/2017 (PDF document, 592 kB, 66 pages)
Maps of burials by section, as of 2/15/2017 (PDF documents)