Brick Streets in Champaign

Champaign Brick streets

Both Champaign and Urbana have bricks stockpiled for future repair of existing brick streets–and important part of local history!

One of the things we have as a part of our local history is a significant number of brick streets in near west side Champaign and in certain Urbana neighborhoods as well. Dan Corkery wrote about this in last Sunday’s News Gazette. He opened with the line. “I’m a sucker for brick streets”. And I would have to agree.

They stand the test of time, they resist the destructive forces of freeze and thaw we encounter, and they sound so good as you drive them. So why have most been replaced? First of all they are costly. Secondly they don’t do as well with todays heavier vehicles and truck traffic.

Champaign has 8 miles of these antiquated roadways and their future is assured in that they are in historic districts near downtown Champaign. Much of the credit for saving what we have for brick streets is due to preservationist and former Champaign mayor Dannel McCollum.

Dannel McCollum

Dannel McCollum–the brick man of Champaign.


Real Estate Open House in Urbana

Urbana real estate

This fine home in quiet Urbana is open for you to see this Sunday 2-4p.

904 S Carle in Urbana is open for you to see this Sunday 2-4pm. This vintage home is listed for 184,900.

This home is right on Carle Park, is close to the University of Illinois, and has 3 bedrooms and  1 1/2 baths.

A real estate open house works like this:

  • there is no charge
  • we answer your questions about the home or any other real estate in the area
  • you get a chance to interact with one of our real estate pros

So drop on by and have a look!

Chicagoscapes, Larry Kanfer


Larry Kanfer’s new book “Chicagoscapes” will be the feature of a show at his gallery starting next week.

Larry Kanfer is one of Champaign Urbana’s great artists.  He graduated from the University of Illinois in 1979 and promptly opened his gallery which for many years was in Round Barn Center. The Larry Kanfer Gallery is now at  2503 S. Neil St.  in Champaign.

Larry’s photography comes from around the world, but in his six books, there are many that were shot in the Champaign Urbana area.

Now Kanfer has a new book, “Chicagoscapes” and it is the feature of an upcoming show at his gallery. According to 40 North, this new collection of photos carries the grit, sophistication, and friendliness of the Windy City.

The show runs September 17-27 with a launch and book signing at 5p on the 18th.

First Step in Selling your Champaign Home

Champaign real estate open house

1020 W Armory in Champaign is open this weekend–Sunday 2-4p–stop by!


A functional and beautiful kitchen, flowing floor plan, plenty of storage, and spacious master bathroom will help win buyers’ hearts.

However, often before they see those areas, they see your landscape. It’s the curb appeal theory that I’m talking about. Some buyers will decide based on the look of the outside of your home whether they’ll even bother to come inside.

If your front yard is cluttered, your exterior paint is chipped, driveway cracked, you’ll find that the for sale sign in your yard won’t attract as many buyers as it could if you spent some time to clean up and create curb appeal.

Fortunately, you don’t have to hire a landscape company to come and renovate the entire area. There are things that you can do that are fairly simple and will attract buyers.

Pull out the dead plants and debris. Start by removing dead plants, shrubs, and debris. Doing this step will create space in your yard and allow you to find a few potted plants to fill in the empty space to bring some color into your yard.

If you get a lot of fallen leaves, make sure you have someone rake and sweep up regularly. Remember your home is on the market every day, not just when it’s being held open. So, keep it up daily. Just like when you go out to eat, you like to dine in pretty restaurants that are clean, buyers want to see your house in its best condition and that starts at the street.

Treat your lawn to a fresh coat of paint. It might sound odd but you can, indeed, paint your lawn. Large patches of brown lawn can lower the value of your home or turn a buyer off completely. It might not be practical to completely remove your lawn. So, you might try hiring a company to spray paint your lawn. Companies that do this can match the color of your lawn so that it looks natural.

Some cities have used this method to clean up lawns on foreclosed homes. Painting lawns has been used on commercial properties for decades. The paint is typically made from a non-toxic vegetable oil so it’s not harmful to people and pets.

Lawn paint is similar to dying your hair. It’s a semi-permanent color that stays on the grass and won’t wash off but it will fade over time, usually about three months.

Fix broken windows and dents in the garage door. Take a walk around the exterior of your home and note which areas need repairs. If you have paint chipped areas get them fixed. It’s likely that the cost won’t be that much and yet the payoff of repairing these items will help improve your home’s overall value.

Add a splash of color. I saw a home the other day that had a yellow front door and a matching yellow umbrella in the front yard. Frankly, I don’t remember much else about the landscape except that I thought the home was charming. The bright yellow door stood out and the umbrella made it seem quaint. Nothing else about the landscape was that spectacular, but adding some eye-catching color made the home shine.

The time and money you put into cleaning up your front yard will help attract buyers and keep them from bypassing your home.

Written by Phoebe Chongchua


705 Wingstem, St Joseph Open House

St Joe open house

This affordable home at 705 Wingstem, St Joe is open this Sunday 2-4pm.

There is a real estate open house in St Joe this weekend and you can walk through and get info on Sunday, 2-4pm.

705 Winstem, St Joseph is a well priced and lovely home in one of Champaign County’s nicest little communities. St Joe has parks, local business, an easy drive to Champaign Urbana, and great schools.

This home is listed at only $157,000 and has lots of updates. Check out the backyard and deck!

Open house in St Joe

Wide open backyard with lots of room for entertaining on the deck–a great home!

And take a look at the interior!

Open house in St Joe

The spacious interior if this home has many updates.


902 W Church Open this Sunday

There are many real estate open houses in Champaign Urbana this Sunday and they are free and open to the public…especially home buyers!

Champaign open house

This lovely and stately home at 902 West Church, Champaign will be open this Sunday, 2-4p.

Come by this Sunday to have a look at this luxury home for sale in Champaign.

This vintage five bdr Georgian colonial has been restored and beautifully renovated. The modern amenities in the remodeled kitchen and baths are lovely and there are improvements throughout the home. The large foyer opens into the elegant and comfortable living room. The dining room, with coffered ceiling, leads to the bright and airy modern kitchen. A private wood paneled office and sunroom complete the first floor. Up the grand front staircase are four generously sized bedrooms and three full baths. Continue up the back stairs to the third floor with fifth bedroom, full bath, mini-kitchen and family room. There is a  second lot with a patio for entertaining…this is a lovely home.

Top Places to Walk, Jog, or Run in Champaign Urbana

Running spot in Champaign Urbana

Colbert Park in Savoy has a great hill for training as well as gravel trails for conditioning for trail running–and there is a water source and restroom!

Chambanamoms recently published a very good list of walking trails around Champaign Urbana–great resource.

When it comes to running spots in CU, there are several and they vary a great deal.

Here is an overview of seven top running and jogging places in the Champaign Urbana area:

-Lake of the Woods near Mahomet- good asphalt trail, 6 miles, shaded for most, nice scenery.

-Meadowbrook Park, Urbana- more of a walking spot and it is cement, but nice prairie area. Near the U of I.

-Colbert Park, Savoy- Great hill and gravel paths all around–and drinking water and bathrooms. A bit windswept and near the University of Illinois

-Centennial Track- open almost all the time just west of Centennial High Schoool

- Illinois Marathon Route and Stone Creek Drive Trail- decent street route through the Champaign Urbana area. Part of the route goes along Stone Creek Drive which has a great bike run trail.

-U of I Cross Country Trail- Near the Japanese Garden—nice grass trail with a hill

-Kickapoo State Parkand Middle Fork near Oakwood- Good trails both at the park and at the natural area to the north


Urbana Sweetcorn Festival This Weekend

University of Illinois

Downtown Urbana Sweetcorn Festival, 2014

The annual end of summer hoorah is here–the Urbana Sweetcorn Festival !

This is the  39th Annual Urbana Sweetcorn Festival and it is just around the corner: Friday, August 22nd and Saturday August 23rd!

This year’s festival is as usual in the heart of downtown Urbana on Main Street (watch out curbanas!) on Friday, August 22nd, 5:00–11:00 p.m. and Saturday, August 23rd, 11:00 a.m.–11:00 p.m. The draw is expected to be 55,000 corn eaters from Champaign-Urbana and surrounding communities in central Illinois. The festival also serves as the official welcome for incoming and returning University of Illinois students.

Open House at 902 West Church, Champaign

902 w church

902 West Church, Champaign open house this Sunday.

Real estate open houses are open and free to lookers–people looking for houses for sale in Champaign Urbana–and there is a great one this Sunday 2-4. Most open houses are at this time most weekends. A good guide to all real estate open houses in the CU area is in the News Gazette.

This one at 902 West Church in Champaign is one to visit.

This home has great features both inside and out.

It has almost 5000 sf in its three floors, 5 bedrooms and 4 baths, and an extra lot–great features as it has been fully updated.

Come on by this Sunday to have a look!


Taste of Champaign-Urbana

downtown champaign

Taste of Champaign Urbana is this weekend!!!

This is the 44th annual “Taste of Champaign” and this grand event is a benefit for area youth. Taste runs Friday, August 15, 5-11p and Saturday 11a-11p at Westside Park. The host is the Champaign Park District and all kinds of restaurants, not for profits and performing acts are involved.

Friday you can see Craig Russo Latin Jazz, Beat Kitchen, Prince Night, and 90’s Daughter.

Saturday the main stage features Dreamfakers and Reverend Peyton’s Bi Damn Band among others.

There will be beely dancing, puppets, comedy and lots and lots of food and drink.