Lake Isabella History, Maps & Information


Updated 10-17-2011



The History of Lake Isabella

   Lake Isabella has a history unique among incorporated communities in Michigan.  The Village has been an incorporated Home Rule Village since 1998.  The process to incorporate began in the mid 1990s with the Committee for Lake Isabella Village Incorporation (CLIVI).  The committee of Ken Torgerson, Tom Debor, Cathy McGee, Ed Spayd, and Bill Dunham worked hard to organize the committee and file the required forms and petitions with the State Boundary Commission. CLIVI then gave way to the Lake Isabella Charter Commission.   This group of Elmer Ledbetter, Jack Adkins, Ken DeVergilio, Ray Lombardi and Chairman Gerald Gaudette had the duty of drafting the Village's Charter to present to the voters.  In April of 1998 the community voted 305-110 in favor of the Charter and Incorporation.  The beginnings of the Village government are just as unique as the beginnings of the community.



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The Village of Lake Isabella lies nestled in the rolling hills of western Isabella County.  The Village began as a commercial development in the late 1960s.  The development was the brain child of Golden Grigg,  Nephi Grigg and Leo Gatehouse.  The Grigg brothers were door to door produce salesmen in the early twentieth century.  Their business interests grew to include their own produce and dairy  farm,  restaurant, appliance store and insurance and real estate businesses.  In 1951 the brothers purchased the Oregon based Bridgeford Company which was in bankruptcy at the time.  In doing so they expanded their business interests to include frozen food commodities.  To support the investment they also purchased a processing plant and eventually renamed their frozen food enterprises as Ore-Ida Potato Products.  The Grigg brothers would later sell their corporation to the H.J. Heinz Company.  Seeking another investment opportunity they ventured into land development.  The project that they would participate in would be like none other in the state of Michigan.  Leo Gatehouse had a dream for the farmland near his family's home on Coldwater Road., That dream centered around damming the Chippewa River and creating an 800 acre lake with residential development surrounding the lake.  In 1968 it finally happened, and the community of Lake Isabella began to develop as a four-season recreational haven.

   By the mid 1990's it became clear that in order to provide the highest quality of services for the residents who make Lake Isabella home the community needed to incorporate as a municipality.  Until that time the duties that a municipal government would handle were in the hands of the County, Townships, and the Lake Isabella Property Owner's Association (LIPOA).  LIPOA still is very active in the development of the community and is governing body over nearly all of the parks in the Village and access to the lake. 

    Incorporation was by no means an easy task.  Committed and knowledgeable residents worked endlessly with the state and in 1998 Lake Isabella became the state of Michigan's newest incorporated Home Rule Village.  Lake Isabella became the first new Village in the state in nearly half a century.  Several communities from around the state that have also considered incorporation have called upon the knowledge of the leaders of Lake Isabella to help them in the effort for municipal recognition.  Since incorporation the Village has continued to grow.  Today the Village is staffed by two full-time employees and several part time employees.  Additionally, the Village also works hand-in-hand with the local excavating service for nearly all road upkeep and repair.  With the Village being built around a lake, it has many more miles of road than a typical municipality with the same size population.  The Village presently has 28 miles of streets. 

    The Village of Lake Isabella is committed to providing the highest level of service to it's residents and guests, while doing so at the lowest possible cost.  Lake Isabella is central Michigan's premier location, it provides enjoyment opportunities whether you seek fun on the land, water, or in the air.  The Village has a Championship Golf Course that is open to the public, and the Lake Isabella Airport which features a half mile airstrip for private and recreational airplanes.  Another defining characteristic of the Village is the property tax mill cap that is written into the Village charter.  The Village's Charter caps the operating Millage to no more than 1 Mill.

Surrounding Municipal Operating Tax Millage

Municipality Millage Rate What You'd Pay

City of Saint Louis



City of Coleman



Village of Farwell



Village of Breckenridge



City of Clare



City of Mount Pleasant



City of Alma



City of Evart



City of Ithaca



Village of Shepherd



Village of Edmore



Village of Barryton



Village of Mecosta



Village of Lake Isabella



Millage Rate is only for municipal operating, does not include townships, schools, county, DDA, Library, or other special levies.

What You’d Pay is based on a piece of property with a taxable value of $50,000.


Reference Materials, & Maps




2000 US Census Data Bonita Bay
Lake Isabella Snowfall Records Camino Royale
State of Michigan Revenue Sharing Data Canterbury Estates
2010 FEMA Flood Plain Map - Western Lake Isabella Foresta Verde (A-L)
2010 FEMA Flood Plain Map - Eastern Lake Isabella Foresta Verde (1-27)
LIPOA Lake Management Plan (Large File) Lake Isabella Airpark
  Lake Isabella Golf Estates I
  Lake Isabella Golf Estates II
  Lake Isabella Golf Estates II (Lot 150 Amendment)
  Lake Isabella Forest I
  Lake Isabella Forest II
  Lake Isabella North
  Lake Isabella Plat 1


Lake Isabella Plat 2
Lake Isabella Street Map Lake Isabella Plat 3
Lake Isabella Water Depth Map Lake Isabella Plat 4
Zoning Map Lake Isabella Shores
  Lake Isabella South
  Lake Isabella Woods
  Platinus Pointe 1
  Platinus Pointe 2
  Whispering Pines