The City of Alma was founded in 1854 by Ralph Ely along the banks of the Pine River. By 1872, the community had grown to 425 people and was able to be incorporated as a village. General Ralph Ely was elected the first village president. With more growth, the village was incorporated as a city in 1905. In 1919, Alma adopted the Council‐Manager form of government. Alma currently has a population of 9,383.
Alma has a history of adapting and meeting its challenges. The early economy depended upon lumber, mills and agriculture. As time progress, the community became home to the Michigan Masonic Home, Alma College, food processing, and manufacturing. Alma was home to the Republic Truck Corporation which was the largest truck manufacturer during World War I. In the 1930's, Leonard Petroleum and Mid‐West Refining began operating refineries in Alma. The oil industry continued to be a major economic force within Alma until 2000.
Alma currently has a diversified economic base of industry, retail, and service industries. Some of the major employers in Alma currently include: Mid-Michigan Medical Center - Gratiot, Michigan Masonic Pathways, Alma College, Alma Products, Avalon Tahoe Pontoon, Great Lakes Petroleum, Merrill Fabricators, IAC, Contech, Consumers Energy, and Alma Public Schools. We have a historic downtown, a shopping district with national chain stores, and a high quality full‐service medical district. We have several living options for senior citizens wanting to retire in Alma that with provide quality living at all stages of their life. This makes Alma an excellent place to raise a family, work, retire and enjoy life.
The City of Alma is a full service city which includes: police, fire, streets, water, sewer, bus service, library, code enforcement, airport, and low‐income housing. The major municipal facilities include the Alma Municipal Building, the Alma Public Library, the Dial‐A‐Ride Transportation center, water plant, wastewater plant, public works garage, parks/cemetery facilities, the Post Chapel, Riverside Cemetery, the trailhead and trail for the Fredrick Meijer Heartland Trail, and over 100 acres of park land.
Alma has educational opportunities. We have a high performing public school district, a private grade school, Alma College and technical training from GTEC.
Major capital improvements in the near future include: street improvements, water system upgrades (the City is moving towards leaving surface water a source of drinking water.) and reducing the infiltration and inflow into the sanitary sewer system. Longer term, the City of Alma envisions extending the Riverwalk to Saint Louis, increasing the residential housing options, and improving the park system and farmers' market. One of the goals of the City Commission is to rehabilitate the parking lots and alleys in the downtown. Longer term, the City of Alma is working towards a major mixed use redevelopment of the river front. Our goal is to develop commercial, residential and professional space along the Pine River.
Alma is home to the Alma Highland Festival which is one of the finest Scottish festivals in the world. The City also hosts the Lucky MacDuck derby, the Come Home for the Holidays celebration, and the Gratiot County Fair for Youth.
We encourage you to come to Alma and check out everything we have to offer. We are sure you won't be disappointed!
Alma - Make It Yours!