Costa Rica beach town powwows with Ft. Lauderdale about safety

October 3, 2008

A delegation from Quepos, on Costa Rica´s central Pacific coast, is headed this weekend to the U.S. city Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to raise money for law enforcement in the Central American beach town.

The group, from the Quepos Sister Cities International chapter, aims to raise awareness of Quepos´ policing and water rescue needs and to solicit assistance, ranging from education to cash.

“These events are part of numerous programs this year that we are organizing to make Quepos and Manual Antonio a better place for all people,” said Harry Bodaan, the Sister Cities International coordinator.

By visiting Fort Lauderdale agencies such as the city, the Police Department, the Fire Department and the Ocean Rescue Department, Quepos officials have become more familiar with budgets, organizational charts, environmental impact and many other programs, Bodaan said.

“We feel proud the (effort) has helped lay the groundwork and was able to open many eyes of our city leadership and in some cases, changed the mind of city council members and those who were against these projects in the very beginning,” said Bodaan.

He said the visits to Fort Lauderdale helped to “drastically” change the course of the new chamber of commerce by setting specific mission statements that were more business friendly and create an environment in which the private sector works more closely with the local government and central government in San José.

Accompanying Bodaan on the first visit this month will be Quepos Mayor Oscar Monge, City Council President Luis Ch á vez, and volunteers Cornelio Mesen, Charlie Berghammer and Rosalie Maas.

The second delegation will go to Florida Oct. 29 to Nov. 3 to attend the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show 2008.

Bodaan said the boat show will give Quepos city and business leaders a chance to see the magnitude and scope of economic benefits that the planned Quepos marina could bring to the area. The benefits could be similar to those the Los Suenos Marina further north has brought to the communities of Jacó and Herradura, but, “hopefully, without the negative effects impact on area security.”

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