TROY — The delegation first visited Troy’s sister city Takahashi City as honored guests for many of their celebratory occasions during their three day stay.
During their visit, Takahashi City Mayor Kondo bestowed the city’s highest honor upon Mayor Michael Beamish naming him “Special Honorary Citizen of International Goodwill.” It was only the third time it has been awarded in the city’s history with former Mayor Pete Jenkins receiving the honor as well.
“It was quite an honor,” Beamish said.
While the Troy delegation was visiting, the city dedicated its $21 million new City Hall, a new rail system and is planning to build a new library. Director of public service and safety Patrick Titterington said many of Takahashi’s projects are being funded by the federal government.
“They are a big cheerleader for us. In the Japanese culture, if they feel if you are warm and accepting and inviting that’s a good thing. For our business community, they know that. They know we have a sister city in Japan. Because of that, that opens doors for us, it really does for us,” Beamish said.
Minus the mountainous terrain, Takahashi City has many similar concerns in terms of keeping and attracting its population to stay in the area.
“Mayor Kondo has the same problem — how do you keep young people into your community when they all want to migrate to Tokyo or Osaka,” Beamish said. “Mayor’s Kondo’s thinking is ‘If we do some modern things to keep people in — they have a river, too, although we don’t have a mountain — there’s a lot of similarities.’”
Beamish said they always discuss the city students cultural exchange. The last week of July, a group of student delegates from Takahashi will visit Troy and in mid-August a group of student will visit Takahashi City.
“That building relationship was very aware. We would meet them in the hotel after we came back from a business meeting and a parent would bring their child that says, ‘They were a delegate to Troy,’” Beamish said. “There’s power in that. They learn our culture but they also feel a sense of belonging.”