Statistics for the North Down Borough Council, Northern Ireland
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In the Summer of 1997, Mayor Oberndorf was selected by Sister Cities International (SCI) for a SCI-sponsored mayoral visit to Ireland. Virginia Beach was nominated to be hosted by North Down Borough Council.
Later that year, Mayor Oberndorf was invited to speak at the House of Commons in England. While there, she and her husband, Roger, accompanied by Virginia Beach Economic Director, Donald Maxwell, and Virginian-Pilot Reporter, Mike Abrams, returned to Ireland and visited Bangor, County Down, where they received a very warm welcome from the Chief Executive Adrian McDowell and the North Down Borough Council. Chief Executive McDowell, former Mayor Marsden FitSimons, Alderman Leslie Creee and Councillor Alan Chambers visited Virginia Beach following the 1998 International SCI Conference in Miami, Florida, to explore economic possibilities.
The SCI Annual Conference in 1999 was held in Little Rock, Arkansas. The then Mayor of Northdown borough, Marion Smith and her husband, Stanley, Councillor Alan Chambers, Alderman Leslie Cree and their new Chief Executive, Trevor Polley, met Mayor Oberndorf and City Clerk and Sister Cities Liaison, Ruth Smith, in Little Rock. During that conference, it was mutually agreed to sign a "Friendship Agreement" between Bangor County Down and the City of Virginia Beach. Following that conference, Chief Executive Trevor Polley and his family took a part of their personal vacation to visit Virginia Beach. Mr. Polley attended the Virginia Beach City Council Formal Session and was presented with the original agreement, signed by Mayor Meyera E. Oberndorf, to carry to the North Down Borough Council for Mayor Marion Smith's official signature.
Since the signing of the "Friendship Agreement", the Virginia Beach City Clerk and Sister City Liaison, Ruth Smith, Convention and Visitor Bureau Director Ron Kuhlman, and Police Lt. Michael Glendon, Fire Battalion Chief Melvin Matthias and Fire Chief Gregory Cade have visited Bangor, County Down. During their personal vacation, residents of North Down, Architect John Guillvrary, his wife, Norma, and their traveling companions, Gifford and Elizabeth McConkey recently visited Virginia Beach. Virginia Beach hosted exchanges between the Rotary and the Bangor Chamber of Commerce in the Fall of 2000. A reciprocal visit by the representatives of the Northern Ireland Fire Services and the Royal Ulster Constabulary occurred in early 2001.
On March 6th, 2001, Virginia Beach City Council signed a Resolution making North Down County (Bangor), Ireland the City of Virginia Beach's Sister City. The City of Virginia Beach wishes to send its "congratulations" to Alan on his election and installation as the Mayor of North Down, Ireland. Further, we send our greetings to all our friends in North Down with whom we have so much in common and know we will reap many dividends from our mutual "Sister City" relationship.