By Jim CunninghamApril 17, 2009
DONGDUCHEON, South Korea - Mayor Oh, Sechang of Dongducheon and his city engineers have decided to give the area outside USAG-Casey's main gate a face lift. They will be changing the looks and adding many new features to the area known as Bosandong village. Many enjoy the entertainment and shopping, which has been a feature of the area since the Korean War ended in 1950. The mayor and his engineers will add popular sports sections and popular shops such as those found in Itaewon in Seoul near USAG-Yongsan.
"Ever since the end of the Korean War, Bosandong flourished with Soldiers who would shop in the area," said Jeon, Heung-Sik, Dongducheon Mayor's Office particular operation region division engineer. "In 2004, the 2nd Brigade left USAG-Casey, which reduced the number of U.S. Soldiers in the area and the plan to relocate the Soldiers to USAG-Humphreys will change the customer base for good. Because Bosandong's customer base has declined, the area has become run down. The mayor and Dongducheon City will renovate the area to attract customers of all kinds, including tourists not only from other parts of Korea, but from overseas as well."
Plans have been in the making since 2007 and now the contracting for renovating the infrastructure, including hiding power lines, renovating sewer, drainage and water, has been completed. The main avenue, Broadway, will be made wider to accommodate more traffic and will include more parking lots and parks, said Kim, Dong-Hoon, Dongducheon particular operation region division engineer.
"Construction will start in May," Jeon said. "There will be a special monument placed at the entrance of the area and a monument placed in front of the park before other construction begins."
After placing monuments in the area, the construction contractors will pave Broadway with a special type of pavement, which will add luster to the streets, Kim explained. Before the special pavement can be put down, they will eliminate the overhead electrical power lines to further add a more open and cleaner look to the area.
"All the old CONEX (military shipping container) buildings will be removed first," Jeon said. "They will be hauled away from the beginning to improve the look of the area."
Sports facilities, tennis courts and badminton courts, will be placed under the train overpass along with more parking lots. The area will be cleaned up with gardens and paved, Kim said.
"For now we are emphasizing the infrastructure, but in the future there will be about 300 small businesses in the area," Jeon said. "The first thing we will do for the existing businesses is replace the old signs with new ones to make the fronts of the buildings more attractive."
The budget the city has set aside for the beautification project is 5 billion won, Kim said. Some of the funds were provided by Gyeonggi province.
This is only a beginning; however, the city has more ideas for adding special attractions and intends on adding businesses popular in Itaewon to the Bosandong area, and is earmarking more funding for the future.
"The project will continue long into the future," Kim said. "Our intention is to make the area attractive to all types of tourists, including those from other countries."