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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Dunedin hopes reinstituting travel to sister cities, Toronto boosts economic development



The economy is improving, so several city commissioners want to lift restrictions on city officials' travel so they can bolster Dunedin's sister-city relationships -- and maybe watch a little baseball.

At commissioners' request, city staffers crafting the 2014 budget will begin looking for money to send Mayor Dave Eggers to festivities next summer marking Stirling, Scotland's 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn, a decisive victory in the country's war for independence from England.

Stirling and Dunedin are part of a three-city sister partnership that includes Prince Edward Island, Canada. Dunedin officials haven't visited either city in at least six years because of budget concerns.

City leaders have also expressed interest in jump-starting negotiations by sending at least one official to the April opening game of the Toronto Blue Jays. The team recently announced they may consider moving spring training out of Dunedin when their lease at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium expires in 2017.

Investing in the city's outside relationships is important in building tourism and business connections, commissioners say.

"If we think it's important enough to have a sister-city relationship, then it's important enough to perhaps use taxpayer dollars to foster it to some degree," Eggers said.

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[Last modified: Friday, March 22, 2013 11:14am]


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