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Bay City is located in Bay County (is the county seat), and in the Central Region. It lies north of Flint along Interstate 75, on the banks of the Saginaw River.

Water has been the basis of commerce and leisure at Bay City, located near where the river empties into Saginaw Bay. Twenty-five marinas now serve Bay waterways, of which five are located in Bay City. In addition, there are 11 local boat launches.

The city's population estimate as of 1998 was 35,485. The area's top three employers are Bay Health Systems, Dow Corning Corporation and General Motors Powertrain. The latter has recently expanded its production facilities in the city. A new technology park, Bay City's second, has opened and is attracting businesses. Beat, bean and potato crops contribute to the local economy. Bay City's Delta College has constructed a planetarium and learning center, using a grant from NASA. Eight golf courses attract local and visiting duffers.

Bay City is part of the Saginaw-Bay City-Midland, Michigan metro area.

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