published Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Chattanooga adds sixth Sister City: Wolfsburg, Germany

by Cliff Hightower
  • photo
    Cars sit on trains as they are to be delivered from the Volkswagen plant in Wolfsburg, Germany
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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Wolfsburg, Germany, home of Volkswagen Group, was named a Sister City to Chattanooga on Monday morning.

Chattanooga now has six sister cities. Wolfsburg is the first addition since Gangneung, South Korea, was added in the 1990s.

"Thank you for your wonderful feeling of friendship," Lord Mayor Rolf Schnellecke, of Wolfsburg, told a crowd in Chattanooga City Hall.

Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield and Schnellecke signed documents Monday solidifying the Sister City designation. Later, delegates from Chattanooga and Wolfsburg planted a sixth tree in the Peace Garden at Coolidge Park, where other sister cities representatives have trees planted in their honor.

Littlefield talked extensively at the 10 a.m. ceremony, saying it took only a short time for Chattanooga and Wolfsburg to become "comfortable with one another."

"It enables us to become comfortable in an international setting," he said.

The two cities first became connected three years ago when Volkswagen Group announced it would build an assembly plant at Enterprise South industrial park in Chattanooga.

In a short celebratory speech during Monday's ceremony, council Chairwoman Pam Ladd mentioned the VW connection.

"We opened our arms to VW," she said. "It is our pleasure to open our arms to the people of VW."

Schnellecke said residents of his city pride themselves in being open, peaceful and respectful of each other and becoming a Sister City to Chattanooga grows that philosophy.

"There were many meetings that made our friendship grow," he said. "This is the basis of peace in the world."

The lord mayor told the crowd Monday morning that he has invited Littlefield and other delegates to come to Germany in December so they can sign Sister City documents in Wolfsburg.

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