St. Johns, Michigan
Combining small town charm, family-friendly neighborhoods and proximity to Michigan’s Capital City and Michigan State University (MSU), the City of St. Johns is a community with agricultural roots, a low cost-of-living and a high quality of life.
Conveniently located within a 30 to 60-minute drive of more populated areas (Lansing, Flint, Grand Rapids), St. Johns also serves as a gateway to Northern Lower Michigan via US-127. Surrounded by agriculturally rich land known for raising mint which gave rise to the Annual Mint Festival, St. Johns boasts an excellent school system with outstanding facilities. As the County Seat, St. Johns is one of the few cities in Michigan to conveniently share an office building with the County.
Historic, turn-of the-century homes dot the tree lined streets of the community. Residents, many who commute to work in more urban areas, enjoy the laid-back nature of small town living and the safety of a full-time police department where officers know many residents by name.
St. Johns is a full-service, council-manager city with 7,900 residents and a classic/historic downtown which hosts six parades celebrating holidays throughout the year. A 2017-2018 General Fund Budget of $4.3 million and Enterprise/special revenue funds of another $4.8 million support 37 full and five part-time employees along with 22 paid on-call firefighters who are engaged in providing outstanding municipal services. Its General Fund currently has a 30% fund balance.
The residents of St. Johns appreciate the small town, rural feel of their community knowing that the “bright lights” of Lansing/E. Lansing/Grand Rapids are easily accessible by major highways for entertainment, education, cultural and work opportunities. When air travel is desired, area residents have two major airports (Lansing and Grand Rapids) within easy driving distance.
St. Johns is the county seat of Clinton County (population 75,000), a rich and varied agricultural area with about 90 percent of the farmland in the county classified as prime growing soil. The growing of spearmint and peppermint is unique to this area, using the rich black soil that prevails. Mint farming began with a two-acre crop of peppermint in 1913. The county ranks first in the production of mint in Michigan, with approximately 5,000 acres of mint farmed. Each year the mint farming heritage is celebrated at the "St. Johns Mint Festival". The Festival is a weekend long celebration of activities for all age groups which attracts over 60,000 people to the City.
For its size, St. Johns offers many amenities that enhance the quality of life for residents. “Points of pride” for City residents include:
- Veterans Memorial at the north end of downtown
- Newly opened Water Spray Park which replaced a closed 1950’s style public swimming pool
- Concert in the Park series of weekly musical performances in the summer
- New Music Performance Shell, funded by donations from the local businesses and citizens, replacing an aged and outdated much smaller shell
- The historic Wilson Center Auditorium which hosts rock concerts, open-mic nights and theatrical productions throughout the year
- Farm Market located in Court House Parking Lot during growing season
Other activities and events which are well supported by the community include Friday night high school sports, 10K and other distance runs/walks to support non-profit organizations and Art Walk sponsored by the Clinton County Arts Council.
The City has a classic “downtown” business district with the County Court House/City Offices on the South End and the Veteran’s Memorial on the North End. Many churches of varied denominations are located along tree lined streets in town. Library services for area residents are provided by the Briggs District Library, housed in a state-of-the-art building located in the City. The Library is funded by taxpayers from the City and several neighboring townships
The City of St. Johns park system consists of over 137 acres of land on six different sites (one main park and five pocket parks). Also within the City is the Clinton County Fairgrounds, adjacent to the Main City Park, which annually hosts the Clinton County 4-H & Youth Fair. The Meijer Trail, part of the statewide Rails to Trails Program, has a stop near the center of town and offers a non-motorized route to communities east and west of the City.
St. Johns is steeped in history and the Paine-Gillam-Scott Museum offers an opportunity to step back in time. The Museum was built in 1860, is the oldest brick home in the area and offers special exhibits throughout the year. The City currently owns the historic railroad depot, which is directly across from the Briggs District Library. The Clinton County Arts Council utilizes the Depot for railroad history functions and model train displays for the community.
Sparrow Clinton Hospital, a division of Lansing’s Sparrow Hospital, is a 28-bed complete primary care facility providing Wellness & Rehab along with Home Care and Hospice Service to the community. A wide spectrum of medical professionals have offices in the area to conveniently serve patients.
The St. Johns Public School System has an excellent reputation, updated facilities and a strategic plan objective to become the best school district in the state of Michigan. Higher education options are available to St. Johns citizens with two- year, four-year and graduate degree programs offered at Central Michigan University and Alma College to the north and Lansing Community College and MSU less than a 30-minute drive south on US-127, a four-lane divided highway.
The City is a founding member of the Clinton County Economic Alliance which was formed to promote the region as a great place to live and do business. The St. Johns Industrial Park, a State of Michigan Certified Industrial Park, currently is home to 16 firms and has over 100 acres available (with room to expand) for new manufacturing and warehousing operations. Many of the businesses thriving in the area are tied to the agricultural operations and rural surroundings in Clinton County.
St. Johns is a traditional council/manager form of local government where all department directors are hired by and report to the City Manager, except for the Clerk and Treasurer positions which are appointed by the Commission but report to the Manager. Five non-partisan, at-large Commissioners serve alternating four year-terms elected on an even-year cycle. The Mayor is selected by his or her colleagues to serve in the chair for a one-year term.
The commission appoints the Manager, sets policy and direction, approves the budget and major expenditures while serving as the legislative authority through the approval of ordinances and major planning initiatives. Three city managers have served the community over the last 45 years.
The City provides a full range of municipal services including police and fire protection, refuse and recycling collection, water, sanitary sewer, storm sewer, streets, infrastructure development and maintenance, park and recreational facilities, and general administrative services. Internal services of the City include the mobile equipment operations.
St. Johns is managed by a mix of appointed professionals and contracted service providers. Administrators are experienced and capable with tenures, in some cases, ranging more than three decades. Department heads include Clerk, Treasurer, Police Chief, Fire Chief, Assessor, Recreation/Code Enforcement, Public Services and Deputy City Manager/Community Development. Planning and Engineering services are provided by consultants as needed, and the Building Inspection Services are provided by Clinton County staff. The City has agreements with two local townships to provide fire suppression services and is a member of a local ambulance authority that provides medical services to the City and surrounding townships.
Thirty-seven fulltime, five regular part-time and 22 paid on call firefighters along with seasonal/casual employees make up the municipal work force in St. Johns. Two labor unions represent the police officers and command officers within the department.
St. Johns has many amenities for our residents and visitors. Please scroll through this page and enjoy a sampling of what we have to offer.
PLANNING AN EVENT OR A PARTY? CLICK ON THE LINKS BELOW:
Special Event and/or City Facilities Use Application and Use Agreement
City Park Map with Pavilion Locations
Park Rules and Regulations
Please stop by City Offices to fill out or drop off completed forms (see above) and reserve your pavilion--payment must be received at the time of the reservation and all paperwork must be signed in front of a city employee (witness). All requests must be approved by the City Manager, Deputy City Manager, or City Clerk. Call (989) 224-8944 Monday-Friday 8:00 AM-5:00 PM for more information or to check availability of the pavilion you wish to rent. You may also check availability by going to the Calendar tab above and clicking on Pavilion rental. Pavilions are rented on a first-come, first-serve basis.