LAW AND FINANCE: Sanford may gain Chinese sister city

Mar. 14, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

City leaders agreed to explore the possibility of forming a cultural relationship with a Chinese city Wednesday afternoon.

Central Carolina Community College President Bud Marchant asked Sanford City Council members for permission to gather information and explore the possibility of forming a Sister City relationship with a Chinese town during a Law and Finance Committee meeting Wednesday. Sister City is a program that pairs international cities for the purpose of diplomacy, culture, student exchanges and shared programs.

Before an official arrangement with a Chinese city would begin, the matter would be brought back before city council for a vote, Marchant said. The idea for a Sister City arose out of Central Carolina Community College’s work with the Carolina China Council and the community college’s Confucius Classroom program. 

“Durham has a Sister City, and so does Pinehurst,” he said. “We will certainly not be the first in North Carolina.”

The idea is very preliminary, Marchant said — adding that he was excited about gathering information to be reported back to the council.

“As Sanford continues to grow in terms of international business, I think it is prudent to continue to develop those contacts,” he said. “Plus, it would be fun.”

Sanford Mayor Cornelia Olive said she would be extremely interested in Sanford developing such a partnership.

“It introduces our children to international cultures,” she said. “I think it’s exciting.”

Council member Rebecca Wyhof agreed, saying the alliance would be an excellent chance for Sanford to grow culturally.

CCCC’s Confucius Classroom program offers classes on the language, culture and history of China, along with activities from the country.

“I am excited about the possibility,” Marchant said. “The more we can do in the international arena helps everyone here. It opens everyone’s eyes to the world as a whole. And the world is a big place.”

In other matters, council:

* considered a resolution to temporarily close a portion of North Avenue from 1-4 p.m. March 23 for an Easter Egg Hunt.

* considered a grant application to install fire sprinklers and fire alarms and to replace fitness equipment for the Sanford Fire Department. The $293,252 grants would cost the city $34,605.