Image Courtesy of Brooks Elite Contracting

Yates Township, Lake County

Yates Township, Michigan is located along the southeastern border of Lake County and is most widely known for the community of Idlewild, which surrounds the lake for which it was named. The headwaters of the Pere Marquette River run through our community, with a couple of public access points adjacent to Broadway Road, where it crosses. About half of Yates Township is located in the Manistee National Forest.

Idlewild began around 1915 when the real estate firm of Branch, Anderson & Tyrrell bought and platted the site, then selling lots to blacks. The Pere Marquette Railroad built a branch line to the area by 1923. A post office opened that same year, with Susie J. Bantom as the first postmaster. The winding, curvy lake area became a popular vacation and resort spot for blacks, eventually being associated as part of what was then known as the “Harlem Renaissance.” Many black celebrities visited here during the 20’s and 30’s, with two daily train runs from Chicago at the height of its popularity.

In 2007, Yates Township was selected to participate in the Transformation Initiative established by Governor Jennifer M. Granholm to “create jobs, build a thriving community and ensure a bright future for Idlewild”. The initiative is collaboratively led by the Department of History, Arts and Libraries, Michigan Economic Development Corporation and representatives of Yates Township and Idlewild, Michigan.

Among the many projects of the initiative include the recently completed Lake Idlewild Park and Access Area; a partnership effort between Yates Township and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Our Mission

The elected officials and employees of the Township of Yates pledge to serve the citizens, both full time and seasonal, with transparency, efficiency, and in compliance with all laws related to township government. 

Our Vision

Infrastructure Development: Encourage commercial, residential, and industrial development through improved utilities and infrastructure. 

Community Development: Encourage public public/non-profit/private partnerships and improve the community’s social and economic quality of life.

Residential Development: Provide resources to improve housing standards and residential life.

Land Use: Use Planning and Zoning and implementing the Master Plan and Recreation Plan, we will promote the orderly development and protection of the township’s rivers, lakes, streams, forestlands, wetlands, and open spaces and reinforce sustainable efforts.

Transportation: Develop accessible street networks, improves and maintain Yates Township’s streetscape and signage.