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

Communication, Planning and Policies

Mn Eis Parklet
  • The City Council adopted a Parklet Policy for downtown, which increases outdoor seating. Above is a parklet installed over the summer of 2022 outside MN Eis downtown. 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 Downtown Action Team brought Strong Towns' executive director to town in June 2022 to provide additional insight and knowledge on ways to strengthen and revitalize New Ulm. Marohn, a professional engineer, land use planner and the founder and president of Strong Towns, previously visited New Ulm in the fall of 2021. The visit included a walking tour of downtown where Marohn pointed out aspects of areas that worked well in terms of urban design and what areas could be improved.
  • The City of New Ulm has increased enforcement of the blight ordinance.
  • The City of New Ulm has adopted a community engagement policy to collect community input.
  • The New Ulm Chamber of Commerce has moved their calendar to their website’s home page for easy access to community events.
  • The City of New Ulm has updated their website to make it easier to navigate and find information.

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.

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.

Saturday Farmers Market at German Park

Farmers Market Sept

The Downtown Action Team worked to facilitate moving the Saturday farmers market to German Park. In addition to local vendors selling fresh produce and homemade products, there were other activities offered at the Saturday farmers market for both kids and adults.

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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