Pittsburgh, PA and Presov, Sk join Sister-City Relationship
Monday, July 15, 2002
Pittsburgh to welcome Slovakian steel city to the family
By Carolyn Taschner, TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, July 15, 2002
Pittsburgh's multicultural family will grow to 14 when the city of Presov in
the Slovak Republic becomes its latest sister city.
Mayor Tom Murphy will make the sisterhood official Tuesday in a ceremony with
Presov Mayor Juraj Kopcak and Pittsburgh City Council President Gene
Ricciardi in council chambers, Downtown.
Located in Eastern Slovakia, Presov is the third largest city in the
republic, with a population near 100,000. Presov also is a steel city, just
20 miles north of the city of Kocise where U.S. Steel has a plant.
The Slovakian delegation, including its mayor, two council members and a
translator, arrived Sunday and will stay through next weekend, to tour and
meet with officials and business leaders. They will spend Thursday afternoon
at Kennywood Park in West Mifflin for the park's Slovak Day .
Joseph and Albina Senko of the Western Pennsylvania Slovak Cultural
Association have sought the Presov relationship since 1995. Reaching out for
his heritage, Eric Ondos, chief of staff for city Councilman James Motznik,
joined the effort and traveled to the Slovak Republic in November 2001 to
tour the city and meet the mayor.
Ondos said Presov is "a few years behind" Pittsburgh and Slovakian officials
are interested in learning from local development of brownfields and projects
like The Waterfront shopping and dining complex, and collaboration with the
University of Pittsburgh.
Many relationships are born like the Presov relationship — an individual or
group has an international tie wants to make a connection with Pittsburgh,
said Linda Campbell, manager of the Urban Redevelopment Authority's
international division and Vice President of the Greater Pittsburgh Sister
According to Sister Cities International, 690 U.S. cities are involved in
relationships with 1,455 cities in 120 countries since 1956, when President
Dwight Eisenhower initiated the program.
Campbell said Pittsburgh has an active relationship with only about half of
the cities. She said most good relationships start out as cultural endeavors
"Before any investment occurs, you have to establish a level of trust,"
Campbell said. "Once that is accomplished, more and more investment will
Committees plan sister events and Campbell involves city officials and
business leaders and finds sponsors to fund events. She said a dragon boat
race scheduled for Sept. 21 on the Allegheny River to celebrate the 20th
anniversary of the city's partnership with Wuhun, China, is one example of a
sister activity to spread diversity in the city.
"Pittsburgh is very diverse city but a lot of us don't know how diverse it
is," Campbell said. "Everybody is set into their own neighborhoods. They are
not really aware of the full picture. We want to bring those cultures to the
Presov joins Pittsburgh's 13 other sister cities: Sofia, Bulgaria; Ostrava,
Czech Republic; Wuhan, China; Zagreb, Croatia; Matanzas, Cuba; Sheffield,
England; Saarbrucken, Germany; Saitama City, Japan; Skopje, Macedonia; San
Isidro, Nicaragua; Fernando de la Mora, Paraguay; Bilbao, Spain; and Donetsk,