This past May in 2019, a group of eight people from the Salida community visited Higashinaruse, Japan, to present a Proclamation which formally establishes the cities as sister cities.

Gift presented to Salida City Council from Higashinaruse, Japan. (Photo by Taylor Sumners)

Ark Valley Voice sat down with a participant of the trip, City Councilwoman Cheryl Brown-Kovacic to discuss what opportunities the trip provides for both communities in the future.

“Sister Cities try and exchange, we took away things that we learned, and an appreciation for what we have [in Salida],” she continued, “but there are some things they do better in their village than we do. Certainly, their infant and preschool care.”

Higashinaruse is looking to Salida as a model for developing attention and community access to their river, much like Salida has with Riverside Park.

Brown-Kovacic explained that “[The river in Higashinaruse] has a slower flow compared to ours and high banks.” She expressed,  “We are so fortunate to have had Riverside Park established by the railroad earlier on. [Higashinaruse] is now struggling to establish this for themselves.”

The town has a ski resort with the only lodging for the town. However, it is 15 to 20 minutes away from the town. Brown-Kovacic explained that the sister city connection and using Salida as a model, “Building a dam would allow them to really develop access to their river and tourism on the river.”

Brown-Kovacic said there are plans for members from the community of Higashinaruse to visit Salida, either this fall or next spring.