Mayor Patrick Henry Hays announced to the gathering that the City of North Little Rock was joining with the City of Uruapan, Michocan, Mexico, to participate in a Sister City program.
The delegation from Uruapan, including Mayor Marco Antonio Lagunas-Vazquez and Vice Mayor Juan Carlos Robles-Monroy, they arrived on Thursday, September 29, to attend the signing ceremony and to tour several industrial facilities and tourism attractions in North Little Rock and Central Arkansas.
Carlos Garcia de Alba, Consul General of Mexico was present and participated in the agreement’s signing. Garcia de Alba who was a key on the establishment of the relation between the two cites said, “I hope the partnerships between North Little Rock and Uruapan is a good example for other Arkansas cities.’
Trepan’s Mayor, Mayor Marco Antonio Lagunas-Vazquez, mentioned the importance of the cultural, economic relationship for both cities. Mayor Lagunas-Vazquez told ¡Hola! Arkansas that Uruapan will be opening a Wal-Mart Sam's Club in October. “The store will employ around 500 people and has an initial investement of 50 million dollars.” he said.
Mayor Hays stated, “This is yet another exciting opportunity to create and strengthen our city’s international relationships with a foreign city. This new partnership will permit us to work with Mexico at the municipal level to stimulate economic development, tourism growth, and other programs of mutual benefit.”
Mayor Marco Antonio Lagunas-Vazquez, said “We are looking forward to many Exchange Programs that can be developed between our Sister Cities like visitors' exchange, tourist promotion exchange, arts and crafts exhibition, chamber of Commerce exchange of information, information exchange between the government of both cities, sports and art and culture exchange.
At night, North Little Rock Mayor Hays at the North Little Rock Maritime Museum greeted the Uruapan delegation. City officials, Mexican nationals that live in North Little Rock and other Latin American residents of the city, attended the event. Everyone was treated to a BBQ and free tours to the USS Razorback. The California Kids and Juliana presented the entertainment.
Angela Schnuerle, Hispanic Liaison from the office of U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln and Maura Lozano-Yancy, President of ¡Hola! Arkansas were recognized by North Little Rock Mayor Patrick Hays for their involvement and support to the Uruapan-North Little Rock Sister City alliance.
Better known as the avocado world’s capital, Uruapan became the World Capital of Avocado 20 years ago. Uruapan has an excellent climate that favors the cultivation of this fruit. Up to date, in Uruapan and its region, near 500,000 Tons of avocado are produced annually, of which 10% is exported to markets as France, Japan, United States and Canada, among other.
In Uruapan there are near 15 thousand established businesses, from which 82% are dedicated to commercial and services activities, and the remaining 18%, to the transformation industry.
Uruapan is a Sister Cities to, Culver City, California, Wenatchee, Washington, Kansas City, Kansas, Antigua, Guatemala, Republic of Guatemala and Matanzas, Cuba.
North Little Rock already participates in the Sister City program through a partnership with Uiwang, Korea.