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The Village of Sparta, Michigan is surrounded by, and part of, Sparta Township, in Kent County.

Nash Creek flows through the northern part of the village, feeding into the Rogue River just east of the village. A portion of the Rogue River flows through the northeastern part of the village.

M-37 passes through a part of the village in the west, and 13 Mile Road (Division Street) and Sparta Avenue NW intersect in the north-central part of the village. 12 Mile Road runs along the southern part of Sparta, forming a small portion of its southern border.

Cities and villages within twenty miles of Sparta include Kent City, Casnovia, Rockford, Cedar Springs, Ravenna, Walker, Grand Rapids, Grant, Sand Lake, Coopersville, and Pierson, while the unincorporated communities of Alpine, Comstock Park, Englishville, and Belmont are within ten miles.

With a population of 4,244 as of the 2020 census, Sparta is not a large village, but, since it first appeared on a census report in 1880, the only year in which it showed a population decrease was in 2010, and that was a decline of only 0.5%, or 19 people.

The first European-American settlers came into Sparta Township in the mid-1840s, and the community began to develop a few years later. A rural post office was established about two miles south of the current village of Sparta on December 28, 1848, with Gaius P. Stebbins as postmaster. Originally, the settlement and post office were named Nashville, for Jonathan P. Nash, who is acknowledged as the founder of Sparta.

Agriculture drove the area's economy, primarily corn, grains, potatoes, hay, wool, and maple sugar. Dairy farming soon became a prominent driver of the economy and continues to be significant to the surrounding region. By 1900, many local farmers switched from traditional crops to fruit orchards, primarily apples and peaches.

In 1872, the railroads came through. Sparta became a crossing for the Pere Marquette Railroad north to Baldwin, and the east-west Toledo, Saginaw & Muskegon Railroad, which later became the Grand Trunk Western. TS&M opened a depot, with an agent, in Sparta.

On November 7, 1850, the Nashville post office and village were renamed Sparta Center, which was shortened to Sparta on January 13, 1885, Sparta was incorporated as a village in 1883.

Sparta hosted a German POW camp during World War II. Prisoners were put to work as farmhands since most of the younger men were serving in the military. By all reports, they were well treated, and many of them enjoyed their stay in Sparta, and even wrote to local farm owners after the war.

Sparta was home to Fenton Records during the 1960s. Operating out of a movie theater in Sparta, the independent record label was known for releasing albums by Michigan garage bands. The company offered recording and mastering services, as well as vinyl pressing for a fee.

Approximately forty percent of the village is open space or vacant land, particularly on the outlying areas in the west, north, and east. Outside of the village, Sparta Township is predominantly agricultural, especially in apple orchards. Within the village, just over twenty percent of the total land area is single-family residential, while just over eight percent is industrial, and about seven percent is commercial.

Providing a PK-12th-grade curriculum, Sparta Area Schools operates Sparta Early Childhood Center, Ridgeview Elementary School (K-2), Appleview Elementary School (3-5), Sparta Middle School (6-8), and Sparta High School (9-12), and an Educational Services schedule that offers speech services, occupational therapy, and special education.

The Sparta Police Department provides law enforcement and policing services for the village, and the Sparta Fire Department offers fire suppression services for both the village and township.

The focus of this portion of our guide is on the Village of Sparta, Michigan. Online resources for the village government or any other governmental entities within the village are appropriate for this category, along with local businesses, industries, schools, places of worship, organizations, attractions, events, entertainment venues, and recreational opportunities.


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