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Final preparations are being made
for City of North Bend Long Range Planner, Jesse Reynolds to visit the Townlet of
Mestia, Republic of Georgia to kick off an exchange program called Twinning.
The program is designed to foster a relationship between peer institutions from
developing and developed countries in the form of a professional and cultural
exchange to assist the developing country through a mentor-mentee relationship.
The exchange was approved during the February 5th Council meeting.
Reynolds leaves for Mestia this
Friday, May 31st and will return on Thursday, June 13th. Trip-related
expenses will be funded by the Asian Development Bank, an international
development finance institution dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the
Pacific through loans, technical assistance, grants and equity investments
promoting social and economic development.
“Other cities and countries, such
as the City of Edmonton, Alberta and Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia have successfully
fostered the mentor-mentee relationships such as this through the Asian
Development Bank,” Reynolds said. “We see this as a unique opportunity to learn
new ways to enhance our outdoor brand and provide a cultural experience for our
During the two-week trip,
referred to as the diagnostic trip of the exchange, Reynolds will work with
city officials to learn the needs of Mestia and assess how employees from North Bend can assist in
professional capacity building. Reynolds
will return with a synopsis of his findings to be presented to the City’s executive
staff. Through this discussion, it will be determined who from the City will
make the follow up trip to assist. In total,
North Bend can send up to five additional people to Mestia, and in turn, Mestia
will send up to three people to visit North Bend. Dates for these exchanges are still to be
determined. All trips will be paid for
by the Asian Development Bank.
In return for professional
assistance Mestia, will help provide North Bend with insights into such things
as retention of cultural heritage, their local economic strengths, and
fostering outdoor recreation. The Mestia
area has blossomed as an outdoor recreation center in the recent past.
Reynolds worked with Mestia
during his final project with his former employer in February 2018, when he
supported an urban development planning project for three regions in the
Country of Georgia. He developed the idea of the professional and cultural
exchange between Mestia and North Bend during this work.
Mestia is just over 6,000 miles
from North Bend and has a population of approximately 9,300. It is nestled
within the Greater Caucasus Mountain range with mountains reaching above 4,000
meters in some areas, boasting some of the most rugged terrain in Europe.
“Before I came to work for City
of North Bend, I thought about the many parallels between North Bend and
Mestia,” Reynolds said. “I believe each community could provide insights to the
other’s unique situation of rapid growth and outdoor recreation. I proposed an
exchange between Mestia and North Bend to the Asian Development Bank, whose
program manager accepted it as beneficial. I then brought the idea to Council for
For more information, general
details, or suggestions for the next phases of the exchange, email Reynolds
directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please feel free to send activity ideas for Mestia’s
representatives when they visit North Bend.