OCEAN CITY – Ocean City may gain a new Sister City this year, with efforts to partner with a city in Brazil already underway.
Don Pellicano, representing the Ocean City Sister City Committee this week, presented the idea for the addition of a second sister city to the Mayor and City Council Monday evening.
The Sister City program began with President Eisenhower in 1956. Today, there are 2,400 partnerships in 134 countries.
Sister City International, a non-proift organization, creates and strengthens partnerships between the U.S. and international communities, working to build global cooperation at the municipal level while promoting cultural understanding and stimulating economic development.
Ocean City joined the program in 1997, partnering with its first Sister City, Finale Ligure, Italy.
Pellicano explained that while the partnership with Ocean City’s first Sister went well, with visits to Italy and Ocean City, the partnership has since reached a stalemate.
“We made a decision, our Sister City, Finale Ligure, has become dormant. We don’t hear anything from them, they don’t communicate with us,” Pellicano said.
As a result, the Ocean City Sister City Committee began researching potential matches, eventually deciding on Pedreira, Brazil.
A city of 40,000, located 85 miles from San Paulo, Pellicano deemed the city to be a good match for Ocean City, highlighting various areas where Ocean City could assist the Brazilian city.
Interests in waste management, recycling, pollution, sports and programs for youth are a few areas of interest for the potential Sister City.
“I think we could do something pretty good here,” he said.
Pellicano tentatively set Nov. 1 as the arrival date, explaining that the mayor of Pedreira and his wife, three Sister City officials, a municipal coordinator and department chiefs from the departments of social services, environment, technology and sports in Pedreira would all be visiting Ocean City.
Costs and efforts would include lodging, transportation, arrangements with various county and town staff, an official signing ceremony and two potential trips.
“I’m a little bit cautious. Are we still done with the other Sister City?” questioned Council member Jim Hall.
“They’re still viable, we can have two,” said Pellicano, noting that many cities carry more than one Sister City. For example Salisbury maintains three, while Oakland, Calif. carries 34.
“I think we will probably need a budget that shows how much all those costs are going to be,” said Mayor Rick Meehan.
Pellicano agreed to put together a package, including a budget, for the council to review and return to the council.