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June 2, 2013

Chinese consul general visits

City officials propose investment opportunities

LOGANSPORT — Logansport city officials looked to entice investment from abroad Friday as they escorted the consul general of the People’s Republic of China in Chicago around land to the south and southwest of the city.

After a visit to Logansport Mayor Ted Franklin’s office, lunch at Lin’s Asian Cuisine downtown and a ride on a U.S. Rail locomotive to Clymers, Consul General Zhao Weiping and members of his staff were escorted by Franklin and Logansport Municipal Utilities Superintendent Paul Hartman on a drive-by tour of two sites south of Logansport. City officials were reluctant to go into specifics about the sites until any agreements become official, if and when they occur.

“There are many cities I may visit, but Logansport is certainly a city I must visit,” Zhao told attendees of the lunch, adding Franklin reached out to him shortly after he took his post as consul general in January. “I was deeply impressed with the mayor’s comprehensive introduction of Logansport’s development projects and I’m keen to explore the possibility of attracting Chinese investment to those opportunities.”

Chen Chen, a project coordinator with Shiel Sexton, a construction management firm in Indianapolis, attended the tour as well.

“I definitely think Logansport has the potential for some investments,” he said. “It has great locations and great support facilities. People are working very diligently and hopefully something will happen.”

In a briefing at the Logansport Cass County Airport after the tour, Zhao said he was very impressed with the potential of the land, adding it would likely be attractive to Chinese businesses because of rapidly rising land prices in China.

He also addressed the opposition some Americans hold toward foreign businesses setting up shop in the U.S.

“The state of Indiana is much more open-minded in this regard,” he said.

The city’s efforts to attract Chinese investment are being carried out in China as well by Larry Ingraham of Ingraham & Associates, a consulting firm hired by the city to help create economic ties between Logansport and the province of Zhejiang.

Zhao praised the city’s cultural exchange efforts with Zhejiang, which last week sent three Logansport Community High School teachers to the city of Jinhua for a month to teach English at two of the Logansport Community School Corp.’s sister schools.

The program will continue this fall through a visit to Jinhua by the high school girls basketball team, Logansport Community School Corporation Superintendent Michele Starkey announced at lunch Friday. Starkey along with Logansport Community High School basketball player Whitney Jennings presented Zhao with a basketball signed by the Berries girls team.

Mitchell Kirk is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5130 or mitchell.kirk@pharostribune.com.

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