"Otsego" was named after Lake Otsego in New York and is a combination of two words from the Iroquois Indian dialect: "Ot" means a meeting place, and "Sego" is a word of greeting. Dorothy Dalrymple, a long-time resident, compiled a comprehensive and interesting history of Otsego. Her book is available in the Laura Sanford Room of the Otsego District Public Library.
The City of Otsego operates its own administrative, police, fire, public works, water, wastewater treatment, assessing, and inspection departments. To find out about these services and how they affect you, please call or visit City Hall during office hours, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The City Commission meets the first and third Monday of each month at 7:00 p.m. at City Hall, 117 E. Orleans Street.
In addition to the traditional city services, the City also offers:
The Otsego City Commission established the City of Otsego Downtown Development Authority (DDA) in 1985 to facilitate economic development in the central business district. This body oversees the following functions for the downtown: public improvements, private improvements management and promotion, and tenant search. A considerable amount of construction has occurred over the past few years, including new parking lots, a new grocery store, a new Post Office, underground utility lines, attractive new street lamps, downtown parks, and other functional and aesthetic improvements. Please contact the City Manager at 694-6146 for project details.
The Otsego Chamber of Commerce also initiates and sponsors many activities which promote downtown Otsego. The Chamber coordinates town festivals, and provides information for businesses and residents.
Downtown business persons are encouraged to attend the DDA meetings and join the Chamber of Commerce. These organizations strive to add to the quality of our downtown, and your input will be welcomed and appreciated. The DDA meets at 7:30 a.m. the second Monday of each month at City Hall. The Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors meet the second Tuesday of each month at 7:30 a.m., at City Hall.
Many years ago, Otsego removed the parking meters to encourage downtown shopping. We realize that parking is a limited commodity in any central business district, and ask our businesses owners and employees to leave Allegan Street and the municipal lots open for customer parking. These prime spaces should be available for shoppers. Downtown business owners and employees are urged to utilize off-street parking away from the stores.
The Otsego Chamber of Commerce maintains a comprehensive list of churches, fraternal, service, professional, and business organizations in the Otsego area. Please call the Chamber (694-6880) to receive the name and number of a contact person for any organization you are interested in.
Otsego is fortunate to have a Youth Center which is located at the Community Center/Scout House, 410 E. Orleans Street. The Community Center/Scout House can be rented for parties, meetings, etc. For further information, please contact 866-676-7884.
The Otsego District Public Library is located at 401 Dix Street, 694-9690. The hours are 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Friday; and 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. Read about current programs/events and see their hours of operation.
The Otsego Public Schools System has an excellent educational reputation at all levels and offers a full variety of extra-curricular activities. As a class "B" school, it is large enough to offer subjects ranging from theater to advanced computer applications. However, classes are still small enough to provide individual attention to all students. The average student-to-teacher ratio for classes is 23:1. For more information about the Otsego Public Schools, please call the Superintendent's Office at 269-692-6076.
Elementary and secondary education are also provided by three local parochial schools. For further information about these providers, please call St. Margaret's Catholic School at 694-2951, Peace Evangelical Lutheran School (Wisconsin Synod) at 694-6104, and the First Baptist Church Academy at 694-6738.
The Allegan Area Educational Service Agency, located fifteen minutes west of Otsego, offers extensive training programs in business and industrial skills. The Intermediate School District is also part of the Michigan Business and Industrial Training Program (MBIT). This service will custom-design training services for any new or expanding Allegan County business. Among the services offered are referral/selection, company orientation, quality-of-work/life, pre-employment skills, and in-plant training. For information about the Vocational/Technical Center and MBIT, please call 673-3121.
Further education opportunities abound near Otsego. We are within a 45 minute drive of several colleges and universities in Western Michigan. A list of some of those available is shown below. Also available, but not listed, are several trade and technical education providers.
Kalamazoo Community College
Siena Heights College
Western Michigan University
Calvin College & University
Central Michigan University Satellite
Grace Bible College
Grand Rapids Baptist College & Seminary
Grand Rapids Community College
Grand Valley State University
Michigan State University Satellite
Spring Arbor College Satellite
This office is located at the Otsego Middle School, 540 Washington Street. The Community Education Director coordinates many of the community's recreation activities and scheduling of the Memorial Park facilities and can be reached at 694-6225. The following programs are offered: