|▲ Geumcheon District Office Mayor Sunghun Ryu|
Geumcheon District is located in southwest Seoul. Anyang Stream separates the district from Gwangmyeong City to the west and faces Gwanak District to the east. Siheung-daero crosses in the middle of the city to be connected to the Gyeongsu Industrial Way and the Seohaean Expressway, playing the traffic hub in the region. <PowerKorea> met Sunghun Ryu, Mayor of Geumcheon District, and heard about the now and the future of the district.
Q. It’s been a year since you took the steering wheel of the district?
A. Indeed. I’ve focused on engaging with residents because communication is most important. I’ve tried my best to hear opinions of as many residents as possible in order to introduce more efficient ways to raise quality of their lives. I just feel proud for residents to let me work for them and I will keep doing my very best.
Q. What have you harvested so far?
A. First of all, we are working on ‘3+1 Core Issues’ designed to turn the city self-sufficient. Also, the area around Woosijang (meat market) in Doksan Village has been designated as the first urban regeneration new deal project by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and we’ve secured 37.5 billion won (31.3 million dollars) budget. In addition, we introduced a 5 core safety measures for residents which are as follows: 1) improvement of building administration 2) building the Geumcheon Building Safety Center (tentative) 3) establishing a civil complaints control tower 4) advanced civil complaints process system 5) tightening discipline among public servants.
Q. You have a nick name ‘Alley Mayor’?
A. Many residents in the district are born and bred. Many of them are not well to do due to the slow urbanization. Yet you have a sense of nostalgia for well preserved alleys thanks to the slowness. Residents still say hello each other and talk on the alleys. In other words, I have to be on the alley to gather their opinions. They have details about their needs and wants especially in regard to cleaning the street, transportation and illegal dumping of waste.
Q. The district is working on the innovative education zone project?
A. It started from 2012. We introduced the Geimcheon Education Cooperation Promotion Corp through which officials and residents gather together to bring up measure to raise the quality of education in the district. From 2020, the district will provide free school uniforms to middle and high school entering students. June this year, we introduced ‘Health School’ and are endeavoring to prevent diabetes of students while ‘Science School’, ‘Environment School’ and ‘Musical School’ programs promote each area of their concerns.
Q. You are also working on building a children-friendly district?
A. We introduced the children-friendly administration, the children assembly and the youth assembly. All of these projects are designed to promote participation of children and students for better communications and engagements. The children safety insurance program specially is noteworthy because it provides financial support for accidents and incidents of children from disadvantaged families. Currently, we are building a 1,000 square meter big indoor playground for children including cafes for parents.
Q. Tell us about 3+1 Core Issues.
A. It is 1) remodeling of Geumcheon District Office station as a shopping complex 2) building a large scale general hospital 3) bringing forth the New Ansan Line 4) relocation of the air force base. As for the shopping complex of the station, a working-level cooperation committee has been organized. As for the New Ansan Line, it will connect the district to Ansan City, Siheung City and Seoul and it is set to be finished by 2024 starting next year. As for the general hospital, it will be located on 594 Geumha Road, on a 24,720㎡ land, 5 storey underground, 18 storey overground, 800 wards, and set to be completed by 2023 starting next year. As for the relocation of the air force base, it will answer the residents’ demand for smart city and job creation.
Q. Tell us about the urbanization around the Woosijang area?
A. The area around Woosijang (meat market) in Doksan Village has been designated as the first urban regeneration new deal project by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and we’ve secured 37.5 billion won (31.3 million dollars) budget. The new deal project will bring facilities for clothes, sewing and mold businesses, a cleaner and safer meat market, and a cultural regeneration. Other ongoing new deal projects include Geamha Village, Malmi Village, Saettle Village and Peach Village.
Q. Tell us about G Valley.
A. G Valley is the Seoul Digital Industrial Complex in Gasan Village. Many small and medium businesses are being clustered here and many organizations are carrying on various projects for jobs and businesses. To accelerate the businesses in the valley, 16 public and private organizations formed the Geumcheon G Valley Sustainable Growth Association in April this year and have signed a number of agreements for policies and cooperation already including one between the district and Dongyang Mirae University. Apart from this, the district is running various support centers for complaints, jobs, accommodation, leisure activities and youth.
Q. Fine dust has become a serious issue. What is your plan?
A. Indeed. Fine dust, carbon dioxide and scorching hot summer are threatening our lives. We see more greeneries as an ideal solution and are working on it. Firstly, we are pushing forward a circulated healing trail around Hoam Mountain. Secondly, we are turning the Anyang Stream area as an eco-friendly and resident-friendly walk path and resting area. Lastly, we are building a forest library where people can relax by reading a book at a library in a forest.
Q. What is your direction of administration?
A. I want to create the district where people want to stay longer once visited. Self-sufficient district also is very important where parents rely on hospitals to take care of their children and where people enjoy cultural and leisure activities in fresh natural environments. When the centers for children, youth, science, senior, welfare, war veterans and sports are completed, they will play the very foundation of the district in terms of quality life.
Q. What do you think is your strength?
A. I would say engagement with residents and diligence. As the mayor of the district, I must work hard to listen to what 240,000 residents want and need and make it real. I like my nick name ‘Alley Mayor’ and I will proudly keep it for as long as I take the office.
Q. What is your resolution for the rest of your terms?
A. My resolution is not something special but ‘field-centered administration’ and ‘engagement-based administration’. As the head of administration, I think it is important to draw a map that will see as far as 100 years ahead rather than to focus on instant results to show off. And I believe people give genuine support when you show genuine will and action of changing and improving the district.
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