Resort’s 2nd Sister City Idea Okayed

OCEAN CITY – Plans to adopt a second sister city moved
forward this week, as the City Council voted unanimously to accept the proposed
sister city concept.

Don Pellicano
represented the Ocean City Sister City Committee this week, reporting back to
the City Council on plans to adopt a second sister city. Pellicano first
presented the proposal to the Mayor and City Council two weeks ago,
highlighting the benefits of garnering a second sister city.

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 went well, with visits to Italy
and Ocean City, the partnership has since reached
a stalemate.

As a result, the Ocean
City Sister City Committee began researching potential matches, eventually
deciding on Pedreira, Brazil as the next viable choice.

A city of 40,000,
located 85 miles from Sao 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, areas Pellicano
feels local experts could be of assistance.

Pellicano suggested two
weeks ago that a VIP delegation from Pedreira visit Ocean City
this fall. Pellicano envisioned a one-week stay, which would include various
meetings with town and county officials, as well as an official signing between
the two mayors.

While the council showed
support for the effort, Pellicano was encouraged to return with a budget for
the proposal to give the council a better idea on funding.

Pellicano returned this
week, reporting that plans are still underway. Pellicano set a tentative date
of Nov. 2-9 for the visit, adding that obtaining visas could alter that date.

The delegation would
include the mayor of Pedreira and his wife as well as officers from Social
Services, Economic Affairs, Sports Department and the top city engineer.

While airfare will be
paid for by the city of Pedreira, the Sister
City Committee and the town of Ocean
City would need to pick up the remaining costs.

Pellicano estimated a
total budget of roughly $12,000 for the seven-day trip, which would include
hotel accommodations, food, entertainment, visits to Assateague and Philadelphia and a formal
signing ceremony.

“They said if they stay
beyond seven days, it’s on their nickel,” said Pellicano.

Pellicano reported that
while the local Sister City Committee could contribute $6,000, the remaining
costs would need to be funded through donations and town assistance.

“The timing is
unfortunate because our budget has already been approved for the fiscal year
2009,” said Council member Mary Knight, suggesting the trip be postponed until
next year. “In the interim, with the Internet and e-mail maybe some of our
people in those departments could get a dialogue going.”

“You’ve got to really
get this thing pinned down,” said Council member Jim Hall, pointing out that
costs will likely exceed their expectations, as the delegation would be dining
and entertaining on the town and the committee’s dime.

Pellicano suggested
altering the plan and having only the mayor, his wife and another
representative visit.

The council voted
unanimously to accept the sister city concept, allowing the committee to
continue efforts and planning tentatively.