Downtown Environment

Downtown Environment

The Downtown Action Team (DAT) promotes enhancement of the downtown vibrancy and innovation for the future desired by our residents while maintaining New Ulm’s charm and tradition.

German Street Homes Bench

New Ulm Downtown Assessment

This fact sheet summarizes the results of a New Ulm Downtown Assessment conducted in 2019 by Rethos and highlights what the Downtown Action Team is working on.

Recent Projects and Accomplishments

Downtown Parklets

Lakes On St Parklet With People

In 2023, downtown New Ulm welcomed two new public parklets at Lakes on 1st and Sweethaven Tonics to help encourage people to stay and enjoy the downtown area. Parklets are structures that convert one or more on-street parking spaces into public open space. They are a simple way to increase foot traffic and seating space and encourage inviting commercial districts. The City Council adopted a Parklet Policy for downtown in 2022, which increases outdoor seating.

Engaging Leaders to Strengthen and Revitalize Downtown

Charles Marohn In New Ulm
Photo credit: The Journal
  • Over the last several years, the Downtown Action Team has been working with Strong Towns' executive director Charles Marohn, a professional engineer and land use planner, to provide additional insight and knowledge on ways to strengthen and revitalize New Ulm. Following visits and presentations from Marohn in 2021 and 2022, the Downtown Action Team continued discussions in 2023 to educate community leaders and engage them in the work to strengthen and revitalize New Ulm.
  • The team also began discussions with the City of New Ulm about possible improvements to the Minnesota and Center Street intersection in order to enhance vitality and promote active transportation.

Downtown Parking Lots

With financial support from the Minnesota Main Street program, the Downtown Action Team has helped make parking an easier experience for people visiting downtown New Ulm. The team helped identify available parking and created an easy-to-read map showing the lots and any time restrictions for parking. The map also shows points of interest and the nine tables featuring historical information about New Ulm. Bicycle parking racks are also available downtown to make it easy for bicyclists to visit downtown businesses.

Saturday Farmers Market at German Park


Building on the success of the previous year, in 2023 the Saturday farmers market in German Park offered a variety of additional activities for both kids and adults, including 4-H showings, live music, a New Ulm information booth, bean bag toss, coloring sheets, sidewalk chalk and a trivia wheel in addition to the fresh produce, handmade crafts and baked goods. The Downtown Action Team facilitated the move of the Saturday farmers market to German Park in 2022.

Nuvera Building Mural

Nuvera Building Mural

Public art has the power to transform a community. It’s a positive way to impact a neighborhood, providing a work of beauty for all to enjoy. Public art sparks conversation, builds community respect, and creates a welcoming environment.

With this in mind, the Downtown Action Team sponsored a call for artists to create a mural on the exterior of the Nuvera building in the city’s historic downtown at 1st North and North Minnesota Streets. In the fall of 2022, Chuck Bennis of Brookings, South Dakota, completed the beautiful mural. The project was funded by the EDA, Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the New Ulm Area Foundation. The mural is slated to add a plaque, which will include an artist’s statement and identification for the different elements of the artwork.

Downtown Window Painting

Retzloff Large Window winter scene

Over the winter, volunteers have painted vacant building windows with winter scenes to give the downtown scene more vibrancy.

Downtown Table and Bench Project 

With financial support from the New Ulm Area Foundation, the Downtown Action Team completed a table and bench project telling some of the history of New Ulm in the Summer of 2021. The table and benches are along Minnesota Street from Third North to First South.

In the first phase of the project, plaques with historical photos and information about New Ulm were installed on 20 benches. The second phase of the project was the installation of vinyl wraps on the nine tabletops. Each table has a theme with photos and information about a variety of topics of local interest. The intent of the project is to increase opportunities for social connections and encourage residents to spend more time downtown. The hope is that the information will provide conversation starters and a “walk down memory lane” for residents, while helping everyone gain a better understanding of aspects of New Ulm’s history.

Explore the History Tables in Downtown New Ulm via Self-Guided Tour

Learn more about the history of downtown New Ulm during a self-guided walking tour of nine themed tables. Test your knowledge by answering some trivia questions. Bring along your friends and family and share with each other what you all remember about New Ulm growing up!

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