50Th Anniversary of Portage, Michiganby Former Senator Carl Levin
Posted on 2013-02-13
LEVIN. Mr. President, one-half century ago this month the
residents of Portage Township made a significant and lasting decision.
They voted in February 1963 to incorporate, becoming the city of
Portage. This decision provided many opportunities for this nascent,
vibrant community to grow, enabling city leaders and residents alike to
chart a course for future prosperity. This milestone will be
commemorated in a number of ways throughout the year, including at
Portage's city council meeting last night.
The city of Portage is a part of Michigan's rapidly evolving story. Historically, residents and community leaders relied on fertile farmland for agriculture production. In fact, in the late 1880s and early 1900s, this area was known as ``Celery City.'' Today, it is home to thriving businesses, welcoming neighborhoods and abundant natural beauty. The population of Portage has more than doubled in the past half century, and a number of new businesses, large and small, have helped to transform the city's economic base.
As part of the celebration, Portage recently unveiled its new motto, ``A Natural Place to Move.'' It speaks to the city's continued commitment to preserving its many parks, lakes, and trails in a way that encourages residents to stay active and healthy.
It is fitting that the celebrations planned this year include a mix of activities. A commemorative newsletter in February will highlight the city's rich history; a half-marathon and 5K road race later this month will showcase the city's extensive and impressive park system; volunteer opportunities spread throughout the year offer residents a number of ways to give back to their community; and a 50th anniversary concert this summer as part of the 2013 summer concert series will bring families and friends together to celebrate this important anniversary.
The city of Portage and its residents have much to be proud of. Together, they have steadily moved forward. This year is a moment to pause and reflect on the past, and to ensure that the next 50 years continues to be marked by growth and progress.