Members of the Fort Dodge city council will sign a “sister city” agreement today with a community in the European country of Kosovo.
Fort Dodge Mayor Matt Bemrich says it’s a wonderful opportunity for both communities to grow. Bemrich says, “As a mayor who’s had the opportunity to travel internationally, I thought this was a great way to expose other members of our community and our region to a culture we normally wouldn’t be exposed to.”
The agreement is with the city of Gjakova, located in the southwest part of Kosovo. “The demographics of Gjakova, it’s a little bit bigger than us, about 130,000 almost 140,000 people,” Bemrich says. “Their primary industries are farming and expanding manufacturing base, health care, things of that nature.” Some Fort Dodge leaders have already visited Gjakova in recent months and that city’s representatives have come to Fort Dodge as well.
Mayor Bemrich says city leaders in Gjakova could use some help making improvement to the city’s airport and elsewhere. “Gjakova doesn’t have a highly-trained fire department, nor do they have the infrastructure that we’re very used to here in the United States with a fire hydrant on numerous corners, in your neighborhood and in business areas,” he says. “They may only have one that covers huge, huge areas of their city.” He says leaders and residents in both cities have much to learn from each other. The signing ceremony is set for 11 A.M. at the Willow Ridge Golf Course club house in Fort Dodge.
(Reporting by Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)