Meet our Sister City: Kinver, England
Kinver, England, a historic and picturesque village in the West Midlands, is officially Park Ridge’s Sister City. A "Declaration of Friendship" was jointly proclaimed by the two cities, under the auspices of Sister Cities International, inaugurating an exchange of ideas and development of friendship.
The search for a sister city for Park Ridge began with the appointment of the Sister Cities Commission by Mayor Ron Wietecha in 1992. The Commission, chaired by City Clerk Betty Henneman, corresponded with cities throughout the world, and found Kinver through a joint resident, Domenic Toni. A graduate of Maine South High School, Toni now lives in Kinver, however, commutes to Park Ridge for business and to visit his family members, who still live here.
Kinver is a two-hour drive northwest from London and a short distance southwest of Birmingham. Located along the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal, Kinver maintains its original character as a "true English village." It has existed in some form for over 1200 years on the edge of the Black Country, an industrial region famous for its coal mining and iron working industries.
The present population of the parish is 8,000, with most of the residents living in the village. Kinver is governed by the Parish Council, with a mayor, fire and police departments, and three schools.The main street, High Street, is lined with historic buildings---a few half-timbered, but mostly brick and tile---varying in age from medieval to modern. There is a wide variety of specialty shops displaying local crafts. Like Park Ridge, it was once the site of brickyards.
Kinver is described as a "dormitory" village (we would call it a "residential community") and has been a popular tourist spot since Victorian times. Prominent industrialists chose Kinver as the ideal location – close enough to their business interests but far enough away to avoid the smoke and pollution.
Kinver is well known for Kinver Crystal, hand-made, hand-cut English lead crystal, miles of picturesque footpaths, and garden centers specializing in flower varieties from cottage garden roses to bonsai. Kinver Edge, owned by the National Trust, features extraordinary views and 200 acres of open land. Holy Austin Rock contains dwellings excavated out of soft red sandstone cliffs, that were inhabited until 1967.
Betty Henneman, who has visited Kinver several times with a delegation from Park Ridge, explained that our cities are participating in an exchange of ideas covering the arts, business, government, health, education and sports. Residents from Kinver have traveled to Park Ridge as well. The central locations of both Kinver and Park Ridge have facilitated travel between our citizens.