The City’s Name
“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.
City Government and Services
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:
- Transfer Station for Large Refuse: Located on the west side of Farmer Street just north of the Kalamazoo River. It is open Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. The fee is based upon weight at the operator’s discretion. This service is for city residents use only.
- Dry Trash Pick-up: City workers will remove rubbish free of charge in the residential zones. The pick-up is made the first Thursday of every month. Rubbish is to be placed on the curb-lawn no sooner than the night before pickup. Excluded from this service are garbage, furniture, appliances, construction waste, and volatile/hazardous substances. The limit is 3 bags or boxes of a size and weight which one man can handle.
- Recycle Pick-up: Recycle bins may be obtained by calling Best Way Disposal at 1-800-950-5519. The City’s recycling contractor, will pick up glass, metal, tin, and papers separated and placed in the bins, the first and third Monday of each month. Place the bins on the curb-lawn. Recyclables may also be taken to the Transfer Station, at no charge, during regular operating hours.
- Brush Pick-up: Brush is picked-up the first Tuesday of each month. Place brush on the curb-lawn for pick up no sooner than the Saturday prior to the first Tuesday. Large logs will not be picked up.
- City Parks System: Brookside Park is on the east side of town, just off M-89, and features free utilities and parking for recreation vehicles. Memorial Park is located on the south side of town on Farmer Street, and features a softball complex, several courts for both basketball and tennis, and a well-equipped children’s playground. Northside Park is located on the north side of town on 16th Street/Watson Road, and features a basketball court and large children’s play structure. The possibility of a Riverfront Walk is being investigated which would connect Brookside Park to the Downtown.
- Free Autumn Leaf Pick-up: This normally takes place in November and is advertised in the local newspapers. Leaves are not to be burned or piled in the street.
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.
Parking in the Downtown Area
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.
Churches, Community Resources, and Organizations
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
Otsego Public Schools Community Programs
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:
- Adult High School Completion
- Adult Enrichment – classes designed for Otsego adults to pursue new hobbies and interests
- Student Enrichment – opportunities for Otsego school children to pursue activities which are not a part of the regular curricula
- Community Recreation – several sports leagues and other activities are coordinated for recreational purposes
- Community Services – other programs and services for community enrichment.