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New Murals Appear in Homewood's Southgate Area

The two new murals in Homewood's Southgate business district are the most recent works of well-known artist, Richard Haas.

The Dixie Diner and the Dixie Service Garage are the latest additions to Homewood’s Southgate area.

No, they are not new businesses. They are giant murals painted on the brick walls on the east and west sides of Dixie Highway at 187th Street.

The murals are the latest pieces by artist Richard Haas, whose work can also be found in larger metropolitan areas, such as New York City, Washington, DC, Fort Worth and even Melbourne, Australia.

“The Southgate murals will help unify the two business districts and provide Southgate with a cultural attraction,” said Rachael Jones, public relations and special events manager for the Village of Homewood.

After spending the past four years looking at a dull, drab brick wall, owner Dane Hartmann says he is “really excited” about the new murals. Hartmann believes the 40s-style Dixie Service Garage going up by his shop will help his business.

“We get new people coming in here all the time, some have lived in the neighborhood for 20 years and never knew Pete’s was here,” Hartmann said. “The mural will catch people’s eye, especially those coming from the south, and they will see us. People are already saying, ‘Hey, did you see that mural on Dixie and 187th by Pete’s Auto Service?’”

What helps make the murals so eye-catching is the technique Haas utilizes called trompe l'oeil, which involves extremely realistic imagery and creates a 3D effect.

“The murals, which are paid for with Tax Increment Financing (TIF) funds, are an effort between the building owners, the tenants, the village and the artist,” Jones said. "They create an attraction and when people come into town to see them and spend more time in the area, they will patronize more businesses."

The Southgate murals and a third new mural due to be started soon behind Melody Mart, are all scheduled to be done by the end of the year, according to Jones said. A previous mural of the old Homewood Theater used to exist behind Melody Mart. The new one will be music related.

Haas’ other murals can be seen in downtown Homewood on the back and sides of shops along Ridge, Martin and Harwood. The most recent to be completed is a conservatory filled with tropical plants on the side of .

To showcase the Haas collection, the Homewood Art Council will be organizing mural walks, Jones said. In addition, Jones said the Village will host a mural tour during the Holiday Lights Tour on Dec. 2 and will host spring and summer tours as well.

HBR August 12, 2011 at 06:34 PM
now while I agree that these murals are brilliantly done and very nice to look at while I'm at the red light at Dixie & 187th for all of a minute and a half, I'm not certain that's what Homewood should be spending their last dollars available on (I understand that the Village contributes to these funds needed to pay for the murals). they have put a halt (and for years to come) on fixing sidewalks, parking lots, and dead tree removal because the police/fire department need a new hvac system. I find those more important to fix than wall coverings. however, I do tip my hat to Haas, they are beautiful.
Sox Fan August 12, 2011 at 07:40 PM
I thought the same thing (about the cost), but then I thought about how beautiful these are and maybe... just maybe they will inspire residents to improve their property (pull weeds, repaint chipping shutters, etc.). And maybe... just maybe... residents that are thinking of moving because their neighbors haven't been keeping up their property will decide to stick around. Before you know it, voila! Homewood is vibrant and beautiful again!
scott Intravia August 12, 2011 at 10:16 PM
My understanding was it was paid from TIF funds which come from the state. The TIF funds have some strange restricitions and limited to certain retail districts. There was an effort to expand the district a few blocks which would be good so these funds can be used for further economic development.... The Village budget and spending is another subject :)....
Nick001 August 16, 2011 at 01:57 PM
TIF funds don't come from the state. They are property taxes that would otherwise go to all the other taxing bodies (e.g., the schools, the county, the forest preserve).
scott Intravia August 16, 2011 at 06:08 PM
Nick, Thanks, The TIF is a mystery to me and "my understanding" is waaay above my pay grade :), I have "tried" to research it myself without having to consult a TIF atty to try and do some things in Homewood, i,e. Bakers Square. Its wierd and eligible allocations are a mystery. I looked at different codes issued and approved by the state but funds are contolled locally on Revenue only on new eceonomic incentive developments based on the actual plans submitted from municipalities to the state.. Then you get into Assesors at County and Townships..gosh..blah blah blah. I did read in the Illinois statutes that the state actually contribute state sales tax back to municipalities that have approved TIF districts at one time but in any case I hope their being put to get use other than just murals and beautification!! Take it Easy

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