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Village Changes Name To Orland Hills - But Are there Any?

April 25, 1986

WESTHAVEN, Ill. (AP) _ This tiny Chicago suburb had so many problems it decided to change its name - to Orland Hills.

But there’s already one problem - community leaders can’t decide whether the village of 4,000 even has any hills.

″It’s not hilly. I wouldn’t call it hilly,″ said Michael Daum, village president of Westhaven, which officially becomes Orland Hills on May 3.

″It’s got a few hills - nah, not really. You’re not going to burn out your transmission in town,″ Daum said in a telephone interview Thursday.

But village Trustee Greg Wachowiak disagreed.

″We’ve got maybe one,″ Wachowiak said.

″We can look down at the city of Chicago. On a clear day you can see the Big John (Hancock Building) from the middle up,″ he said of the highest point in the village, 27 miles southwest of Chicago.

But hills or no hills, both men hope the new name brings in more business - and maybe a new image.

In the 1960s, Wachowiak said, a village president and a building commissioner were convicted on bribery and extortion charges and news accounts about the village invariably dredged up the past.

″Most of the people felt they were getting a bad rap,″ he said.

And although Wachowiak said residents hope the new name will mean an improved image, he said it’s largely up to them.

″The only thing that’s going to bring the town a new image is the way they conduct themselves,″ he said. ″Names do nothing for you.″

The idea of a name change surfaced in 1984 and residents have since bandied about such variations as Orland Terrace, Orland South and even Orland View to cash in on the fame of neighboring Orland Park.

Orland Park expects to draw $600 million in retail sales from its two major shopping malls, said Daum, adding that was the major consideration in opting for a spinoff name.

In November 1984, Westhaven residents voted in a referendum to change the name to Orland Terrace. That same month, folks changed their minds and decided on Orland Hills. Finally, Wednesday, the City Council voted 4-2 for Orland Hills.

Changing insignia on police cars, village trucks and stationery is expected to cost about $10,000, Wachowiak said.

Not all residents are happy with the new name, he said. ″They don’t think the change in name is going to help them any.″

But will officials change the name again if business and a new image don’t materialize?

″Absolutely not,″ Daum said.

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