Orland Park Named Among "Most Livable Cities" in America

Orland Park Named Among "Most Livable Cities" in America
Posted on 06/29/2017

The Village of Orland Park has been named one of the most livable cities in America by the United States Conference of Mayors. The village's award was announced during the conference's 85th annual meeting in Miami Beach, Florida June 23-26.

Orland Park was honored for its Orland Park Substance Awareness Forum (OPSAF) created by former Mayor Dan McLaughlin in 2015.

"Orland Park was honored because of the consortium that Mayor McLaughlin created in response to the devastating effects of illegal drug use and the number of overdose deaths throughout the region," said Village Trustee Dan Calandriello, chair of the village's Public Safety Committee. "The mayor brought together community leaders from all arenas to collaborate on how best to help individuals and families battling addiction."

The award recognizes mayoral leadership in developing and implementing programs that improve the quality of life in America's cities, focusing on the leadership, creativity, and innovation demonstrated by the mayors. This year's winning cities were selected by former mayors from a pool of more than 150 applicants.

"Our City Livability Awards Program gives us the chance to express our pride in cities' mayoral leadership in making urban areas cleaner, safer, and more livable," said Tom Cochran, CEO and Executive Director of the Conference of Mayors.

The Orland Park Substance Awareness Forum was created to convene a multi-disciplinary group of community stakeholders to initiate, develop and establish community-wide sustainable resources and support for persons and their families dealing with substance abuse and addiction. The group's goal is to create awareness, provide resources and information in support of the Orland Park community.

"Orland Park has received national recognition for addressing a problem that all communities face --- drug use and addiction," said Orland Park Police Chief Tim McCarthy. "Mayor McLaughlin brought together local leaders from the frontline --- police, fire/ems, doctors, educators, pastors, counselors, legislators and others --- to share their ideas and host events for a full court press community outreach."

OPSAF includes four committees that develop strategies and programs to address drug abuse on all fronts, Legislative, Education, Family Support, and Treatment and Recovery.

"Education, intervention or enforcement will not stop this epidemic alone," McCarthy said. "Community stakeholders need to commit to work together to address this issue because far too many lives are being lost."

Orland Park was honored among cities with populations less than 100,000. Other winners in this category included Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; Carmel, Indiana; and Johns Creek, Georgia.

This is the sixth City Livability Award that Orland Park has received. McLaughlin was honored for the village's Open Lands Program in 1995; veterans' programs and urban forestry in 2007; climate protection in 2008 and anti-bullying in 2015.

In 2017, USCM representatives traveled to Orland Park to present its "Partner America Program" Small Business Advocate Award to McLaughlin. The Chaddick Institute honored Orland Park with its Development Process Award in 2007.

"Improving the quality of life for our residents is one of the four major strategic goals of the village board," Calandriello said. "Orland Park receiving national recognition for Mayor McLaughlin's initiative shows the importance of empowering people to make the right choices, raise regional awareness and provide very important resources."

Information about the Orland Park Substance Awareness Forum can be found on its website at www.opcares.net.