A sign that music will be alive in New Ulm parks

This sign is a mock-up of what is coming to New Ulm’s parks by spring or summer 2024. The group is looking to place 10 signs around New Ulm, including in Hermann Heights and German, Nehls, Pollinator, and Riverside parks.

NEW ULM — The parks of New Ulm will soon be alive with the sound of music, as the Park and Rec Commission approved ProMusica’s request to put musical signs in five of New Ulm’s parks.

A total of 10 signs will be placed around New Ulm. Permission has already been granted in North Park and along Minnesota Street as potential locations. Hermann Heights and German, Nehls, Pollinator, and Riverside parks are the five parks ProMusica was seeking permission to place signs.

ProMusica is a local chamber orchestra looking to spread classical music across southern Minnesota. Artistic Director Bethel Balge said the idea of musical signs was inspired by other chamber groups across the United States.

“[We want the] signage, especially in parks but in landmarks of cities, where people come and enjoy the beautiful park,” she said. “You can also have the opportunity to have music playing through the signage. There will be a QR code that will take you to our playlist of live recordings.”

Balge said the project looks to promote mental wellness through the combination of beautiful park scenery and tranquil chamber music. She said there is a possibility for a designed walking path, where the song on a given sign would run as long as it would take to get from one sign to another. The result would be a stroll around the park with musical accompaniment.

Commissioner Carisa Buegler asked about the cost of the project. Balge said all of the costs would be covered by ProMusica. When asked about maintenance by Commissioner Kurt Johnson, Balge said she believed maintenance and installation would be covered by Park and Rec. Park and Rec director Joey Schugel provided some clarification for what costs fall where.

“ProMusica would purchase all materials related to signage,” he said. “If installation is done with city staff, they would provide a reimbursement for the city staff’s time. No costs associated with this project would enhance budgetary items.”

Buegler asked if the city would be able to examine the sign designs ahead of time to ensure any verbiage on the signs aligned with the city’s values, to which Balge said they would. Schugel provided final comments, praising the project’s unique characteristics.

“This could be a great opportunity for our parks that currently isn’t there. We would look at ADA accessible locations and put them in our park system where they make sense.”

Commissioner Jim Bastian made the motion to approve ProMusica’s signage plan, while Johnson seconded the motion. ProMusica currently plans to place all of its musical signage in the late spring or early summer of 2024.


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