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Dateline Dixon: Petunias in peculiar places

Published: Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013 1:15 a.m. CST • Updated: Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013 10:07 a.m. CST
Derek Barichello is a reporter for Sauk Valley Media. You can reach him at or 815-625- 3600, ext. 526.

DIXON – Have you noticed the petunias blooming from the water tower on the north side of town?

Commissioner of Public Property Colleen Brechon told me the city is capitalizing on its tallest billboard. Free of charge, too.

Earlier this year, Dixon entered into an agreement with Maxcor Inc. of New Lenox to paint the tower, which is routine maintenance. The project was completed about 2 weeks ago and unveiled to the city.

It now features Dixon’s name in purple against a white backdrop with petunias painted on each side.

Dixon is joining a not-so-new trend to market the community on the water tower, which after all, is visible from several portions of town, Brechon said.

“I think it’s a wonderful tool for the city,” she said. “I think when you come into a community with a beautiful water tower like that, it’s one of the first things you see and it can attract you to that community. ... It shows visitors that you are in a nice community.”

Also, the city anticipates selling space on the tower for cellular towers, to bring in some extra revenue.

The decision to paint petunias on the tower was an easy one, in keeping with the city’s nickname, the “Petunia City.”

The idea is to leave a memorable icon in visitors’ minds representative of Dixon, Brechon said.

Other communities have had success from advertising their high school sports teams to turning their tower into something quirky.

For instance, Shiloh is famous for painting its water tower with red and white stripes to look like a peppermint stick and Collinsville has the famous “world’s largest ketchup bottler” for a water tower.

Recently, the city of Silvis made headlines by painting its water tower to resemble a golf ball, since it plays host to the John Deere Classic pro tournament.

It may not rival some of the truly quirky towers, but Brechon said the water tower design should instill some town pride.

“I think it will help market and promote the city. If anything, it shows we take good care of what’s ours.”

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