city, Gratiot county, central Michigan, U.S., located on the Pine River about 50 miles (80 km) north of Lansing. Founded as Elyton by Gen. Ralph Ely in 1853, it is in the heart of an agricultural area that produces beans, corn (maize), and sugar beets. The manufacture of automobile parts, watercraft, and metal products is of economic importance, as are wholesale and retail trade and other service-related activities. Alma's economy suffered a significant setback in 1999 when a petroleum refinery there, a major employer and taxpayer in the area, closed. The city is the seat of Alma College (founded 1886) and the Michigan Masonic Home. The annual Alma Highland Festival and Games (May) features Scottish dancing, piping, and drumming and competitions in traditional Scottish athletic events. Inc. village, 1872; city, 1905. Pop. (2000) 9,275; (2005 est.) 9,260.
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