In 1994, Löhne, Germany became a sister city of Columbus, Indiana. This relationship was established to foster ties between the two similarly sized cities. Perhaps the major interest was due to a large percentage of the population and surrounding areas having ancestors who emigrated from this same region in Northern Germany.
This secret was unlocked in April 1989 when Hans-Günter Lichte and his wife Edith came to Columbus in search of descendants from her great-grandfather Scheidt. Family members were found buried in the cemetery of St. Paul Lutheran Church at Clifty.
Once the connection was made, groups led by Hans-Günter Lichte of Löhne and Arthur Schwenk of Columbus began to visit back and forth. Also, a student exchange program was developed by Columbus North High School with the high school in Löhne.
The two cities were united in a partnership that bonded cultural and religious similarities.
Our Sister City relationship with Miyoshi, Japan began July 5, 1994, with the signing of a cultural partnership agreement by Mayor Bob Stewart and Mayor Michio Tsukamoto. The formal resolution for the twinning was November 30, 1994.
Miyoshi City is located in the central part of Aichi prefecture, situated between Nagoya City and Toyota City. It shares many similarities with Columbus, such as population size, central location & proximity to other larger metros (i.e., Columbus to Indianapolis as is Miyoshi to Nagoya), and the importance of the automotive manufacturing sector to the local economy. The headquarters of local firm CAPCO (Miyama Co.) is located in Miyoshi, and the parent company of Rightway Fasteners also has operations in Miyoshi.
Miyoshi’s introduction to the Columbus community began with business introductions of local resident Gerry Seim and Miyama Co., Chairman Dick Yamamoto. Family exchanges formalized into community, student, teacher, and friendship programs at both locations. Additionally, Rotary Clubs played a part in the early years.
Several exchanges have developed over the years by and between the two cities, often including representatives of City government, local schools, and business interests. For example, each year, Miyoshi schools send a group of middle school students to spend one week living and studying in Columbus, and every other year up to 20 high school students from Columbus have the opportunity to do the same in Miyoshi. Relations between the two cities have further been fostered by respective community visits led by Miyoshi Mayor Kenji Onoda and Mayor Jim Lienhoop.
Hundreds of cherry trees growing in Columbus and the sidewalk bricks of the downtown Friendship Alley have also been donated to Columbus from our sister city.
Miyoshi Delegation Visit – August 2017
The City of Xiangyang of Hubei Province of the People’s Republic of China was elevated to “Sister City” status in September 2011. Xiangyang sits along the Han River, which runs through the heart of the city. Xiangyang was once two separate, ancient cities and by preserving its rich history, one of the oldest still-intact city walls in China remains in Xiangyang. The city is the second largest in Hubei, with an urban population of approximately 466,000 and surrounding population of more than 5.7 million people.
Xiangyang’s leading industrial sectors include textile manufacturing, machinery manufacture, chemical processing, electronics, and construction materials. Agricultural resources are significant with its chief farm products including grain, cotton, vegetable oil crops, tea and fruit. As the home to Dongfeng Motors, Xiangyang is also a well-known automotive hub.
Columbus officials first visited Xiangyang (then Xiangfan) in 2007, building upon established relationships by Cummins and Dongfeng Motors. In October 2009, officials from Xiangyang made a visit to Columbus. The connections with Xiangyang company Dongfeng Motors has become increasingly important to Columbus. In November of 2008, local firm LHP Technologies joined with Dongfeng Motor Import & Export and Yinlun Machinery to create LHP Yinchang in Columbus. The relationship with Dongfeng Motor Import Export continued, when in April 2010, the Greater Columbus Economic Development Corporation (then known as “Columbus Economic Development Board”) announced it would partner with the company’s office in Shanghai to house the EDC’s Shanghai Office, a partnership which remains active today.
The City of Columbus finalized its relationship with its newest sister city, Pune, India in July 2019. Pune is the second largest city in the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is the ninth most populous city in the country with an estimated population of 3.13 million.
To celebrate the new relationship, a delegation of officials from Pune, headed by Mayor Mukta Tilak, visited Columbus on July 18 and 19, 2019. During their trip, the delegation visited areas of Columbus, took the Columbus Area Visitors’ Center architectural tour and met with City leaders and staff, Cummins representatives and other local employers to learn more about Columbus.