Why I’m not returning to downtown New Ulm

To the editor:

Back in January 2013 I married a woman from the Philippines. We went through the immigration process and this last December she finally received her visa to move to the US. We live in Shakopee and have driven through St Peter many times on our way to visit family. Every time we drive through downtown St. Peter my wife would always comment on how beautiful the old buildings looked, I told her, “If you like this you’ll love my hometown.” So, on July 11, we made plans to tour New Ulm. We hit all the usual tourist spots. For lunch I thought I’d treat her to an authentic German meal at the Kaiserhoff. We parked next door in front of the Pub and Patio on Minnesota. After lunch, my wife wanted to stroll the downtown area. So we walked down Minnesota, stopping in at the Gutentag Haus and detouring up Center St. to visit the County Museum finally reaching the oid Tilimans Bakery. Crossing the street we headed back up Minnesota. At one point we looked to our right and saw the German-Bohemian Immigrant monument so we left Minnesota to explore German Park, [significantly improved from when I left town in 1993). We then returned to Minnesota Street, bought some fudge at Hope and Faith Floral to eat while we waited for the 3 p.m. Glockenspiel. My wife was delighted. She never thought she would experience anything quite like New Ulm. So we returned to the car only to find a parking ticket.

I looked around to find a sign stipulating parking restrictions. I did finally, find it halfway down the block. And yes, it seems I did overstay my two-hour limit quite significantly. And that’s why I’m never returning. It seems counterproductive to me that a city would spend so much money to beautify its downtown area to attract shoppers and tourists and then punish them for spending too much time enjoying the experience. So the next time someone asks, “Why is downtown struggling?” the answer is Target and Wal-Mart don’t give their customers parking tickets.

Francis Klinkner

Shakopee

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