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The original item was published from 10/9/2019 9:38:09 AM to 1/16/2020 12:11:48 PM.

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Posted on: October 9, 2019

[ARCHIVED] Sanford Signs Sister City Agreement with Atizapán de Zaragoza, Mexico

City Seal

Sister City SigningOn October 5, Mayor Chet Mann, members of the Sanford City Council, five municipal delegates from Atizapán de Zaragoza, Mexico, and the Sister Cities Association of Sanford met at the Sanford Municipal Center for the official signing of a Sister City agreement between the two cities.

Joining the municipal delegates in Sanford were 15 artists from Atizapán de Zaragoza. The artists, who perform with Compañía de Danza Folklórica Citlalmina and Compañía Infantil y Juvenil de Danza Folklórica de Atizapán de Zaragoza, spent the first part of the day performing at El Refugio’s annual Festival Latino.

Sanford’s connection to Atizapán de Zaragoza stemmed from the two cities’ close Rotary Club connection, which includes more than 10 years of water projects in central Mexico. For the past six months, the Sister Cities Association of Sanford and El Refugio have worked with the Atizapán de Zaragoza government to bring the cities together as Sister Cities.

During the signing ceremony, Treasury Secretary Fernando Reina acted on behalf of Atizapán Mayor Ruth Olvera, who was unable to travel due to a health emergency. Olvera signed and sealed the official Sister City agreement in Mexico and Mayor Mann signed the same agreement in Sanford.

“The Sister City program promotes cultural, educational, and economic opportunities for all people through long-term community partnerships between cities in different nations,” says Mayor Mann. “For Sanford and Atizapán de Zaragoza, this connection will help leverage our strengths while also giving us the opportunity to learn from each other.”

Mayor Mann also signed a Sister City proclamation declaring Sanford and Atizapán de Zaragoza’s relationship. Sister City Signing CeremonyDelegates for Sanford were Mayor Pro Tem Rebecca Wyhof Salmon, and Council members J.D. Williams, Sam Gaskins, and Byron Buckels. Atizapán delegates were Secretary Reina, Councilman Daniel Altamirano, Olvera’s chief of staff Jaime Espínola, Trustee Alejandra Zepeda, and Advisor Julio Yáñez. Sister Cities Association of Sanford president Jan Hayes also signed the proclamation.

North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, Senator Jim Burgin, and Consul General of Mexico Claudia Velasco Osorio gave remarks at the signing. Deacon Bob Bridwell and Deacon Emilio Mejia of St. Stephen Catholic Church provided a blessing.

A collaboration between the Jonesboro Rotary Club and Club Rotario Las Torres Satélite in Atizapán will likely be the next step for the Sister City relationship. Potential partnerships include fire service and ongoing water infrastructure projects.

Atizapán de Zaragoza is Sanford’s second Sister City. In 2015, delegates from Sanford traveled to China to sign a Sister City agreement with the city of Yixing.

For more information about the Sister City initiative or to become a member of the Sister Cities Association of Sanford, visit

See photos from the signing on Facebook here.

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