Signage & Awning Grant Program

Program Overview

This program is proposed and intended to offer funds to property owners or tenants within the downtown commercial center historic district for the purpose of adding or replacing signage and/or awnings. Signage and/or awnings should be designed to enhance and compliment the character of the building and must follow the City of New Ulm downtown design guidelines. This grant program will use funding from the Heritage Preservation Commission budget (City of New Ulm budget). This money will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis to businesses.

Grant Amount

Grants of up to $2,000 will be available. A 50% match by the property owner or renter is required to participate in this program. Only one grant per business, per calendar year, shall be approved.

Eligible Properties

Properties must be located within the local commercial center Historic district, the boundaries of which are outlined in City ordinance. If the applicant is not the owner of the property and the property is under lease, there must be at least one year remaining on the lease. The applicant must also have liability insurance in force with limits no less than $250,000 per occurrence/$500,000 aggregate.

Eligible Improvements

New signs and/or awnings or the replacement of existing signs or awnings may be covered by this grant. A property owner or tenant may apply for funding of either signage or awnings or both within the one year grant period. If the installation of signage or awnings is completed by a contractor, the installation costs will be considered as part of the costs. A grant recipient can perform their own work, although in this case, grant funds may be used to compensate for materials only.

Project Approval & Grant Payment Procedures

All required permits must be obtained prior to the commencement of work. The City of New Ulm Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC) must approve signage and awning aesthetic designs and materials and eligibility for this grant at a normal HPC meeting. Structural design of signage or awnings is solely the applicant's responsibility. Applications for a design review and the grant application are available at the City of New Ulm Planning Department in City Hall.

The HPC is also available for consultation and planning throughout the process. All materials or finished products must be purchased, installed and inspected prior to disbursement of grant proceeds.


A minimum of one bid per project must be obtained from contractors or material suppliers. A list of signage and awning suppliers is available through the Heritage Preservation Commission by contacting Ellwood Zabel in the City Planning and Inspections Department at 507-359-8245.

Disbursement Process

After an inspection by the city and/or the HPC to verify completion of installation and proof of payment, the applicant will be reimbursed. Before funds can be released, the building inspector must have received a final invoice from the contractor or materials supplier, a copy of any permit required, and a certificate of appropriateness from the HPC.

Please allow a minimum of 30 days from the time all of the above is submitted for reimbursement checks to be issued. The City of New Ulm City Council approves all expenditures on the first Tuesdays of each month and invoices must be received at least one week in advance of a meeting to be considered.

Application Submissions

Applications for Design Review and Signage and Awning grant applications may be obtained at:
The City of New Ulm
Planning and Inspections Department
100 N Broadway
New Ulm, MN 56073
Phone: 507-359-8245