Sister city wants to strengthen relationship

The city of Casey, Australia, wants to strengthen its relationships with its sister cities, which includes Springfield.

The relationship between Casey and Springfield has been dormant in recent years, said Casey Mayor Mick Morland. He wrote to City Commissioner Dan Martin late last year to discuss renewing the relationship between the two cities, he said in an e-mail to the News-Sun. Morland also discussed the topic in a recent story in the Casey Herald-Sun.

“I think that both cities have had a long relationship together with many lifelong friends made at both ends,” Morland wrote. “It would be sad for it to end without a fight being put up.”

Springfield currently has four sister cities, including Wittenberg, Germany; Pitesti, Romania; Kragujevac, Serbia; and Casey.

The first established sister city relationship was with Berwick, Australia, in 1985. Both cities shared a connection through International Harvester. Berwick was eventually annexed into Casey, which is southeast of Melbourne.

Copeland has traveled to all three of the European cities through his job as a professor at Wittenberg University, but has never traveled to Australia. It’s more difficult for Springfield residents to travel there due to costs, Copeland said.

The city doesn’t have the resources to send citizens back and forth, he said. Springfield no longer has an ongoing sister city committee, Copeland added.

“It’s been hard to sustain,” he said.

A group of five local students involved in Project Jericho traveled to Pitesti in 2013 as part of an arts exchange. The money for the trip was raised through several local fund-raisers. The exchange also saw several Romanian students travel to Springfield.

Springfield and Casey used to exchanges athletes as part of the Edwin Flack and Connolly Games, but due to economic struggles, the cities began a photo exchange in 2010.

Springfield and Casey could work together to find host families in each location to help reduce costs, Morland said. The cities could also establish a committee to help travelers find the best prices for airfare, he added.

The sister city relationship should be a cultural one between both cities, showing aspects of life from each community, Morland said.

“As mayor of the third biggest city in Australia, we will make every effort to retain our sister city relationship with Springfield,” Morland wrote. “However, it will have to be a relationship from both cities.”