Chamber of Commerce beautifies downtown

Amy Midtbruget (left) and Kim Hanson (right) get their hands dirty planting flowers while beautifying New Ulm.

NEW ULM — Downtown New Ulm has blossomed for the summer season.

The New Ulm Chamber of Commerce planted flowers along downtown Wednesday. Volunteers from the Chamber, Sertoma Club, Garden Club, and New Ulm Business and Retail Association planted 101 ground pots. Additionally, 128 hanging baskets will be hung up on Thursday.

This year the cost was mostly covered by the Minnesota Valley Funeral Home. Help also came from the city and private donors. In previous years the Chamber struggled with raising enough to cover the $8,000 cost.

New Ulm Chamber of Commerce President Sarah Warmka noted the rummage sale from last year as an example the fundraising challenge.

“That’s how many days of staff time trying to get all the items and have the sale. We tried to write grants and it’s a lot of work. We were looking for a more efficient answer to [our funding problem.” Warmka said.

Deb Steinberg (left) and Julie Gartner (right) volunteer with the Garden Club. The Chamber of Commerce, Sertoma Club, and New Ulm Business and Retail Association also had volunteers contribute.

Minnesota Valley Funeral Home Director and City Councilor Eric Warmka identified an opportunity to alleviate the Chamber’s funding woes while also providing something new to the community.

“The Chamber of Commerce isn’t a fundraising enterprise. That isn’t what the point of the Chamber is.” Warmka said. “It was constantly raising money for other things and I saw this was a fit that we at the Minnesota Valley funeral home could maybe step in and utilize this as a platform to honor families that we had a chance of serving every year.”

This year added 282 stakes memorializing people of New Ulm who died in the previous year and were served by Minnesota Valley Funeral Home. Each flower pot will feature a stake with someone’s name on it. Families and friends who wish to remember loved ones can walk along downtown and find their stake.

The downtown flower tradition, done since the mid 1990s, is meant to add color and beauty to the area.

“It really is the same idea as Christmas lights in the winter. It just makes it bright, vibrant and helps the downtown.” Warmka said.

Several different types of Petunia’s and Marigold’s were among the flowers planted. Fun colors to watch out for are Calitastic Mango, Atlantis Orange, and Headliner Raspberry Star.

Volunteer Kim Hanson was one of the many who helped plant the flowers. She is thrilled at the new changes.

“I love it. It’s wonderful. And Minnesota Valley Funeral Home is donating all the flowers, which is amazing. So it’s a really great remembrance.” Hanson said.

The flowers will be out until September. The Chamber is looking for volunteers to water the flowers. If interested, call Keith Rolloff at 507-276-2240.


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