Kinross Charter Township

Kinross Charter Township History

Kinross Charter Township, a municipality nearly 30 miles long and only four miles wide over the majority of its length, is centrally located in Chippewa County in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and consists largely of a small urban community of Kinross surrounded by approximately 120 square miles of open space. The State Legislature created the governmental entity of Kinross Township in 1899. Kinross was a busy little lumbering town and a railroad center for shipping wood and wood products. The Kinross Auxiliary airfield was established in 1941 and was transformed into the Kincheloe Air Force Base (KAFB). The United States decided to close the KAFB in 1977 in the face of environmental and economic considerations.

A Base Conversion Authority was established in 1978 for the purpose of administering the transference of federal military property to civilian use. Ownership of much of the former military base land and buildings was transferred to Kinross Charter Township. Kinross Charter Township owns a comparatively large area of land within the former Air Force Base, much of which is generally vacant. This land area covers more than 900 acres. The airfields and hangar buildings went to the Chippewa County Economic Development Corporation for use as an Industrial Park. A significant portion of the federal land associated with KAFB was transformed into five correction facilities owned and operated by the Michigan Department of Corrections.

The 1990 U.S. Census recorded 1,465 housing units in the Township. That has since changed to approximately 2,000 housing units in the Township. The vast majority of these housing units, 1,100 approximately, are contained in the Woodside housing development within the former Air Force Base. The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians owns approximately one-third of the dwelling units in the development and the balance are in private ownership. Of the 6,566 persons in theTownship in 1990, 4,021 were prison inmates. The Township has since grown to 6,000 persons, excluding prison inmates. Kinross Charter Township has a comparatively young population. The percentage of persons less than 18 years of age in 1990 was considerably higher in the Township than in the County or State as a whole. Similarly, the percent of persons 65 years of age or more was approximately half of that for the County and State as a whole. The median age of Kinross Charter Township residents was 29.6 in 1990, several years lower than the County (32.2) and State (32.6) as a whole. As of 1999 there are 1,946 registered voters in Kinross Charter Township.

The Kinross area is provided with extensive public services. All facilities formerly part of the Air Force Base are served by public sewer and water and both systems are capable of accommodating significant increases in demand. Solid waste collection is provided by private sector services. The Township recently initiated a recycling collection program at the sewage disposal treatment plant Police protection is provide by both the County Sheriff's Department and State Police. In addition, the Kinross Charter Township Police Department provides police protection services to all location previously part of the KAFB through a special assessment district established in 1981.