Recently honored as one of the safest cities in Michigan, Ionia now has even more to brag about.

According to, Ionia is one of the "Top Ten Affordable Small Towns Where You'd Actually Want to Live" in 2017.

Sounds like quite a different view than one expressed by in 2015, which found Ionia to be one of the most miserable cities in Michigan.'s list highlights "towns whose economies are humming along, so local services are plentiful and your chances of finding a paying gig are good."

Listing Ionia's median home price at $124,000 and unemployment rate at 3.5%, here's their praise for Ionia:

Ionia isn’t exactly the most popular destination for those who’ve gotten on the wrong side of the law. There are four state prisons in the southwest corner of the town—an industry that helps keep the town afloat. And safe!

To this rural community, prisons mean gigs, since they employ more than 1,000 people, according to Therese Thill, vice president of Right Place, an economic development organization in West Michigan.
For entertainment opportunities, it’s just a 40-minute drive from the state’s second-largest city, Grand Rapids.

Ionia is becoming a viable and highly desirable bedroom community. Realtor Lisa Coe from Five Star Real Estate moved there in 1985 after marrying her husband, who was born and raised in Ionia. 'It’s a good life in a small town,”'she says. As for the prisons? 'It’s not a big deal. It’s strange [to outsiders], but we just live our lives.' "

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