As D. Michael Collins begins his term as mayor, he should consider a second look at Toledo’s sister cities relationships. I suggest he look to forging ties with a city where English is spoken, business ethics are high, and problems that face us in Toledo have been solved or are being solved.
The city is Geelong, in the state of Victoria, Australia. Geelong has a population of more than 200,000. I was born and raised there.
As in Toledo, Geelong has just elected a new mayor. Other similarities between the two cities are striking.
A program to attract cruise liners to the Port of Geelong will result in five cruise ships making stops in this city this summer — our winter — bringing in millions of dollars to Geelong’s economy.
Toledo Express Airport is in the news because its operations are losing money. Geelong’s airport was an Australian Air Force base; today, there are several commercial flights daily, linking the city to the rest of Australia.
Since 1926, Ford Motor Co. has had a plant in Geelong, but the automaker is withdrawing from Australia in 2016. Perhaps Toledo could help Geelong secure a Jeep plant to replace Ford, with economic benefits to both cities.
Geelong, like Toledo, has an industrial/union base with international companies. It, like Toledo, is famous for its educational facilities, including Geelong Grammar School — Prince Charles’ alma mater.
The similarities far outweigh the differences. The benefits in a sister-city relationship could be manifold.
If Mayor-elect Collins needs an interpreter, I am available.