Cary may soon forge a new relationship with a city in central India after the proposal received initial support Thursday from the Cary Town Council.
The council unanimously supported allowing the Sister Cities Association of Cary, a nonprofit dedicated to building relationships with international communities, to continue seeking that relationship.
“What has happened over the last couple years is many in our Indian community have asked us to pursue a relationship with a city called Wardha, India, and that has been going through the process of vetting,” councilman Jack Smith said. “We are not quite there yet, but we are getting close.”
Wardha, which is in the Maharashtra State, is named for the river that flows nearby. The city’s population was about 106,500 people in 2011.
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Cary already has four sisters cities: Le Touquet, France; Markham, Ontario, Canada; Hsinchu City, Taiwan; and County Meath, Ireland. The town’s first sister city relationship started with Le Touquet in 1992 and its last was with Markham in 2002.
Sister City relationships vary from city to city, but Cary’s connections, particularly with Le Touquet, France, have flourished over the years. This includes delegation visits, summer student exchange programs and Cary High School band performances in France.
Delegations from Le Touquet and Markham also will attend Cary’s Lazy Daze Arts and Crafts festival this August.
“I can’t think of anything that is more important in these troubled times that we live in,” Smith said.
Certain criteria must be met before the relationship can be voted on by the Sister Cities Association of Cary board and town staff. It will then return to the council to finalize the relationship.
“I like to describe it like dating,” Smith said. “We begin, in a sense, a courtship. We find out about each other and we look at commonalities and we look at things that we might have an interest in so that we could grow that relationship.”
Several of the council members spoke in support of creating a relationship with an Indian city because of Cary’s growing Indian population.
“From what I know, it seems like a perfect fit for Cary,” councilman Ed Yerha said. “I certainly fully support moving forward with this. It’s been 14 years and the size of Cary that it is today, I really think we are able to support an additional sister city.”
Councilman Ken George, an executive board member with the Sister Cities Association of Cary, said the time and financial cost of creating this relationship with Wardha would be minimal.
These discussions coincide with the Sister Cities Association of Cary celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The all-volunteer group continues to not only maintain relationships but establish exchanges with other municipalities across multiple continents.
“We are working with cities in Germany and Turkey and China and some other places, but they are still in that courtship stage,” Smith said.
Kathryn Trogdon: 919-460-2608: @KTrogdon