The city of Ningbo’s bid to become Atlanta’s Chinese sister city got a boost at the end of an official dinner in Buckhead July 25 when City Councilman James Maddox won a drawing for two Delta Air Lines tickets to Shanghai.
Mr. Maddox is considered the dean of the council, having served there some 25 years. He also chairs the city’s Advisory Committee for International Relations and is a member of its Sister Cities Commission.
He greeted on behalf of the city Ningbo’s vice mayor, Wu Hemin, who led a delegation of a half dozen Ningbo officials. Atlanta was the last U.S. stop for the Chinese delegation, which earlier had been to Washington, Detroit, Milwaukee, Wis., and Jacksonville, Fla.
An elated Mr. Maddox told GlobalAtlanta that he and his wife would fly to Shanghai and then visit Ningbo, a city of some 6 million people that is separated from China’s commercial capital by the Hangzhou Bay Bridge, which connects the two cities.
The new bridge is slightly longer than 22 miles and opened on May 1. It is the second longest bridge in the world, second only to the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway in Louisiana. The Atlanta Sister City Commission recommended Ningbo as its Chinese sister city last year, but final approval rests with the mayor’s office and the Atlanta City Council.
There currently are three Chinese cities in contention for designation as Atlanta’s sister city. Dalian, on China’s northeastern coast, and Wuhan, a port on the Yangtze River, also are in contention.
Mr. Maddox traveled with Mayor Shirley Franklin and a delegation from Atlanta to Wuhan in 2006 on a trade mission that included visits to Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. But even before he won the raffle, Mr. Maddox told the officials in a welcoming toast that the Sister Cities Commission had chosen Ningbo and that it was his hope it would be the final choice.
Attendees at the dinner included members of delegations from the state and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, who attended an investment and trade symposium for Zhejiang province in which Ningbo is located and the China International Consumer Goods Fair.
Jane Li, an Atlanta-based representative of the Ningbo Foreign Investment Development Board, arranged for their visits and said that another delegation will be going to Ningbo in October for an automobile show.
Mr. Wu picked Mr. Maddox’s name from a fish bowl filled with business cards and Delta’s director of international development, Bobby Spann, awarded him the tickets.
Delta launched its Atlanta-Shanghai flight on March 30.