중앙데일리

Former bombing range to be given a major overhaul

Kooni Range to be transformed into a peace-themed seaside park by 2013

Dec 22,2008
The township of Maehyang in Hwaseong City, Gyeonggi Province is a fishing village that has looked like a battlefield, even though the Korean War (1950-1953) ended over 50 years ago.

After the fighting finished, the village was long used as a bombing and firing range by the U.S. Air Force. The Kooni Range was shut down in August 2005 after 54 years of operation, but unexploded shells still scatter the area around the village, and a nearby island is disfigured with the marks of bomb explosions.

But a plan has been made to transform the wounded Maehyang.

The Hwaseong city government said yesterday that 201.8 billion won ($163.4 million) will be invested in developing a 970,300-square-meter area of the former Kooni Range, including both land and sea, into a new-concept park combining ideas of peace, leisure and ecology.

The construction of the Peace Park will begin in 2010, and is scheduled to be completed by 2013.

“Under the goal of establishing an eco-friendly park combining economic, historical and environmental values, we requested Gyeonggi Research Institute to devise a master plan for developing the area. We are currently discussing the details of the plan with the central government,” Hwaseong Mayor Choi Young-geun said in a recent interview with the JoongAng Ilbo.

According to the city government’s plan, 60 percent of the area will be converted into a park and the remaining 40 percent will be composed of leisure facilities. A history museum and a memorial hall commemorating the shutdown of the range will be built in the park, and a marine-themed resort equipped with yachting and other facilities will be added along with accommodations.

“An international bidding process for the contract will be conducted early next year, when the plan will be finalized,” Choi said.

“Furthermore, a plan to create a marine leisure and tourism route connecting islands in the West Sea around Pyeongtaek Harbor, Hwaseong Lake and Incheon Airport is also under consideration.”

Maehyang residents are welcoming the government’s Peace Park project.

“We hope that through the forthcoming project, Maehyang will clear its previous image of war and destruction and become a village of peace,” said Jeon Man-gyu, head of the group of Maehyang residents who carried out the campaign to shut down the Kooni Range.


By Chung Young-jin JoongAng Ilbo [spark0320@joongang.co.kr]


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