How does a small town grow and attract new residents? According to the village log, Orion lost 5.7% of its population in the last census. After working in leasing in QC, when someone moves to the area they always think about the same things. How does the community feel and what are the local amenities are two of the most important questions. Right now we have the perfect opportunity to help our city grow, attract new residents and help our local businesses. If you haven’t heard, the village bought several acres next to Love Park a few years ago, but nothing is planned for the place other than a small parking lot.
In August, the board was asked to add new amenities to the parks that would meet the needs of residents but also attract people from cities who do not have access to these amenities. Suggestions included a paddling pool, dog park, 9-hole frisbee golf course, butterfly garden, incorporating art in the form of sculptures, murals, photo ops in the parks, and other beautification projects. Since August, residents have been suggesting on social media to finish sidewalks throughout the park, a community garden, more hangouts, and a multi-purpose sports field. A long-term master plan is required for our parks.
Growing up in Orion we had some additional businesses that met the need for family activities and amenities nearby or in town. There was a time when kids could take a bus from Central Park to Hillcrest for a day of swimming. Hillcrest had camping, swimming, golf, dining, and a gazebo for parties. The bowling alley was used frequently during the same period. It had the diner, bowling leagues, a bar and a party room.
Now the village cannot replace these businesses, but it can reintegrate some family and group activities into our parks. There is a clear need for activities from residents. So many residents are leaving the city for them at the moment. There are water activities nearby in Cambridge, Geneseo, Galva and Milan. Disc golf and dog parks in other small towns like ours. But why did families leave Orion to go to another city to do something they could do here? When I go to these other cities, I usually stop at stores and eat at a nearby store. Our residents could socialize here in the city, build our community and spend their money. We have to be competitive!
There are residents willing to raise funds to build some facilities, and some companies have expressed an interest in making this possible. The village asked for feedback on the new land in September Nosy Neighbor. Did you send in your email? Please email the village your support for a master plan for Orion Parks at [email protected].