Elk Grove inks friendship agreement with Bulgarian city
Chicago and the suburbs have the second largest Bulgarian population outside of the Eastern European country itself, and now one of those suburbs is forging closer ties with a Bulgarian city to share ideas and promote intercultural understanding.
Mayors for Elk Grove Village and Pernik, Bulgaria, an industrial town in the western part of the country, inked a friendship agreement this week under the Sister Cities program.
Elk Grove signed a similar agreement with Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, Mexico, in 2015. Those arrangements can pave the way to an official Sister Cities partnership, like Elk Grove has had with Termini Imerese, Sicily, Italy, since 2000.
"It's amazing as big as the world is, how small it really is, and how much we have in common," Elk Grove Mayor Craig Johnson said after hosting a delegation of Pernik officials for dinner on Tuesday.
The group also toured the $1 billion, 85-acre Elk Grove Technology Park under construction on the old Busse Farm. They're looking for ideas and advice as they develop a new industrial zone of their own in a town once heavily-reliant on coal mining.
"I saw how beautiful your city was and how well organized everything is," Pernik Mayor Vyara Tserovska said through a translator. "We hope to model after what you have here."
Elk Grove officials were introduced to the Pernik delegation through Bulgarian Consul General Ivan Anchev. A year ago, Anchev tried to help the Little Bulgarian School, a 600-student Saturday school that meets at Elk Grove High School, in their bid to buy a day care building at 711 Chelmsford Lane that the village had acquired. The deal fell through, but dialogue between Anchev and Elk Grove continued.