For over two decades, the Amphitheater in German park has been a place where the community can gather and listen to local bands, attend weddings and parties, and watch movies. The musical events held about once a week have remained well-attended, but not without complaints from those attending and performing. Over the years erosion has taken its toll on the structure, rendering it almost unusable. The top of the theater was the only part where safe seating was possible and moving from the top to the bottom was previously very difficult. The city of New Ulm had plans of starting construction for a long time but simply were not able to due to budget constraints. The only funding outside of the city was coming from private donors and since there seemed to be no progress on the construction, these donors threatened to take away their donations if no progress had started by the summer of 2020. Because of the potential loss of funding, the city council approved moving forward into the design phase.
One of the main concerns with the new design was making sure the new plan met ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) guidelines that it previously had not. An improvement that was made included replacing the fictile terraces with nine concrete terraces and adding two ramps at the top of the structure to create wheelchair accessibility, finally meeting ADA requirements. There was one existing incline in the park providing access to the bottom of the Amphitheater that was kept to provide seating at the lower level also. Another upgrade made was adding small lights to the sides of the concrete steps and stairs in order to provide additional safety and making the theater more usable at night. After these design changes, it is made to seat approximately 550 people and due to erosion no longer being a problem, citizens don’t only have the option of safely sitting at the top of the theater and can instead spread out. The city still has more plans for the Amphitheater but out of their over $776,000 budget, only around 60% has been covered by donors. Efforts to fundraise continues but due to the fall and winter seasons, it may be put to a halt for a while.
The city and the people living here are hopeful that since these improvements have been made it will provide more activities available to the public in the summer and for it to continue our growth as a community.