The City of Niles, located in the southwestern corner of the
state, boasts a history dating back more than 300 years. Niles
is known as "The City of Four Flags" because four nations have
controlled the area at different points in its 300 year history.
This history is evident not only in the City's pride in being the
oldest community in Michigan, but also in the neighborhoods,
museums, downtown, and antique shops. Public buildings also provide
evidence of the City's history, including City Hall and the Carnegie
Library, which is now home to the Chamber of Commerce.
The Niles area is served by
several different school districts which provide quality education.
Niles ranks above the state average in math, science, and reading
scores in many of the elementary and high school grade levels. A
major renovation and expansion of the Niles District Library was
completed in 1999, resulting in one of the finest public library
facilities in Southwestern Michigan and Northern Indiana. Private
and parochial schools provide alternatives to public education.
Opportunities for higher education in the area include two junior
college campuses in Niles, Lake Michigan College and Southwestern
Michigan College. Several colleges are within easy driving distance,
including Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan State and
Western Michigan University extensions in Benton Harbor, and just
across the state line, the University of Notre Dame, St. Mary's
College, and Holy Cross College.
Niles offers residents and
visitors many types of indoor and outdoor recreation activities.
Opportunities for fishing, hunting, canoeing, hiking, and
cross-country skiing abound. Organized sports such as baseball,
softball, and soccer leagues and individual activities such as the
Niles Triathlon provide athletic recreation. Community celebrations
include the Niles Riverfest, the Bluegrass Festival and the Four
Flags Area Apple Festival. The Niles Haunted House and Scream
Park is the largest of its kind in the nation and a Bensidoun French
Market along with several local farms provides an abundance of farm
fresh fruit and vegetables. Free summer concerts at the
amphitheater on the riverfront in downtown Niles provide
entertainment and a focal point for the community. A five mile
walking/jogging trail along the St. Joseph River offers a great
opportunity to exercise and stay in shape and in Riverfront Park you
will find the area's largest children's playground. In
addition there is a
200' long boat dock/fishing pier on the riverfront near the
Rail services to Niles is
offered by Norfolk-Southern for freight as well as Amtrak and South
Shore Railroad for passenger service. A proposed high-speed rail
connection to Chicago (making the trip in under 45 minutes) will
open the door to many new possibilities for the area, both in terms
of residential development and in business and industry. The city
operates a small airport for private and charter use. Regular air
passenger service is offered in nearby South Bend at the South Bend
Regional Airport. Niles is served by major highways including I-94,
I-80/90, (Indiana Toll Road), US 31, US12, M60, M140, and M51.
Four industrial corridors are home to more than 100 manufacturers
with 4,200 employees. Bertrand Crossing, a new technical park,
contains 86 acres in Phase I and is the home of high tech plastics
and metal machining manufacturers. Lake Michigan College has
built a 30,000 square foot facility in Bertrand Crossing to provide
state-of-the-art training for industry. Four manufacturers currently
have their international headquarters in Niles. Major area employers
include French Paper Company, National-Standard Co., and
Tem-Pace. French Paper Company is
the oldest company in Niles and is also the oldest family-owned and
operated business in Michigan.