SAGINAW TWP. – Not only has Saginaw Township survived the harsh economic climate that has been a mainstay during the past few years, but as a community, it has thrived.
That is the message Tim Braun, supervisor of Saginaw Charter Township, gave during the 2013 State of the Township address today at the Saginaw Township Business Association’s annual luncheon. The title of the address was “Moving Forward and Growing Saginaw Township.”
“The title reflects the philosophy that has always been the foundation of our township government – moving forward,” Braun said. “I have been a part of Saginaw Township government for 29 years and we have never accepted standing still. Our board members, managers, department heads and employees have always worked to move our community forward with an emphasis on improving the services the Township provides.”
That dedication to improving services shows through the numbers.
Saginaw Township has grown in the past 20 years and now boasts a population of more than 40,800 residents, according to the latest U.S. Census, surpassing surrounding communities like Bay City, which has a population of just more than 34,700.
Braun said Saginaw Township’s Department of Public Services provides some fundamental services key to moving the township forward.
The department employees 41 full-time and 25 seasonal employees, maintains 250 miles of water main and provides water to 14,339 customers. It also maintains 2,563 fire hydrants and 185 miles of sewer main.
“There is a connection between (a strong infrastructure) and how you grow a community. A community will grow if it has certain things in place,” Braun said. “There are a lot of urban communities right now that have a lot of old, leaking infrastructure. Here, there are certain things in place that open the door for growth.”
Braun also said the township’s public safety departments were another “essential piece” to maintaining growth and moving the township community forward.
In the last year, fire emergency calls dropped from 807 in 2011 to 703 in 2012, Braun said.
“Much of this can be attributed to the hard work of our fire inspectors as they work with our local businesses and assisted living homes on updating their fare alarm systems and providing educational programs to residents and staff,” he said.
The fire department is made up of six full-time and one part-time staff members, along with 85 on-call fire fighters. These employees participated in a total of 4,882 hours of training last year, Braun said.
The township’s police department is comprised of 43 sworn officers, who have all helped in reducing the number of violent crimes that have occurred in the township over the past 20 years.
In 1991, the number of violent crimes that occurred was 2,010. This includes homicide, robbery, felonious assault, larceny, auto theft and arson. In 2011, that number had dropped to 1.050.
“This is remarkable given all the ways greater Saginaw has changed over the same period of time,” Braun said. “I believe this also shows that our police officers are hardworking and that they are working together as a well-coordinated team.”
Braun said all of this hard work and training helps attracts new businesses to the community.
In the past five years, the township recognized 22 businesses that in difficult economic times, “chose to locate in Saginaw Township or make a significant financial reinvestment by renovating their businesses,” Braun said. And companies like Morley, Inc. Kremin Inc. and Miller Mold invested more than $15 million into expanding their existing companies.
“This demonstrates the positive business climate in our community,” Braun said.
And there is potential for even more growth this year, he said.
“The addition of the Cabela’s store has sparked an interest in investment along Tittabawasee and Bay Road,” Braun said. “The adoption of the State Street Corridor Improvement Plan was positively received by nearby residents and local businesses and we look forward to additional investment along this corridor.”
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