A recent ranking puts a Henry County village in the spotlight for safety. Now, Orion hopes to make the most of its recognition.
Orion, Illinois has a population of around 1,800. The speed limit is a safe 35 miles per hour.
"It's that time of year," said Debbie Ford. "Everybody's getting ready for the holiday."
One reason why Orion became the seventh safest city in Illinois. It's the only local community to make the list. A ride around town puts it in perspective.
"Orion's pretty tickled about this," Ford said.
At the Parkside Treasure House, Debbie Ford is multitasking on Wednesday. She's creating colorful holiday decorations while also guiding Orion's Main Street program.
"A lot of times if kids get in trouble, mama knows about it before the kid gets home from school," Ford said.
The real estate website, www.movoto.com, ranked Orion near the top. It received a crime index of 98 out of 100. It's no longer a well-kept secret.
"Kids far away were saying, 'That's my hometown,'" Ford said.
Secure? You bet.
They put padlocks on a chain link fence. Actually, the Love Locks project is another outreach that supports upkeep on Orion's century-old bandshell.
The California-based real estate bloggers say these lists are thorough and well-researched. And that's good enough for Orion.
Inside the Village Hall, Lori Sampson should know. She's been Village Clerk since 1979.
"We have good schools," she said. "People tend to raise their children well here."
Neighbors help neighbors during tough times. And in good times, they're always cooking up something tasty. It's what a community is all about.
"It's a wonderful thing," Sampson said.
It's not even Orion's first list. USA Today put an Orion haunted house into its top ten list for Illinois this year.
"It's just a real good, feel good town," Ford concluded. "We're just real happy about that."
Like the sign says, a great hometown in Orion.
9. Tower Hill
8. Hawthorn Woods
4. Pleasant Hill