Guri City shares a border with Seoul to the east with Acha Mountain dividing the two cities. Mayor Seungnam An has been busy for the last 3 years to bring changes to the city as he pledged during the municipal election with increase citizen’s quality of life as top priority. PowerKorea heard about his efforts for the last 3 years as well as visions in Q&A.
Q. What made you proud for the last 3 years and what left much to be desired?
A. I’ve lived in the city for 31 years. As the mayor, it made me proud when things get improved for citizens. It is my job as the mayor of the city to find what needs to be improved and make them actually improved. In order to do that, the leader must have direction and principle which will push things forward. Despite I’ve worked hard, there are still many things to be improved and there always will be and I’m always working on it.
Q. You have been working on facelift of the city for the last 3 years?
A. Happy city, smart economic city and eco-friendly city are the three projects I’ve pushed forward. The city needs to turn its services-based industry to green and digital industries and for the last 3 years have been the time to lay the foundation for this. It will bring facelift to transportation, environment, education and culture. The balanced development between old and new towns are part of this grand vision. Smart city, convenient city, safe city and balanced development city will be created through these visions. It is promising that an e-commerce logistics complex is set to realize followed by relocation of Guri Agricultural and Marine Products Market and the use of its empty land, inviting a food tach valley and infrastructure expanding around the Han Riverside and Sano-dong. What is more promising is that many young people are favorable to the city due to easy accessibility to both Seoul and countryside nearby.
Q. What are urgent issues at the moment?
A. The city is expected to experience traffic issues in and around Galmae-dong due to the central government’s housing complex plan on Taenung CC which is near Galmae-dong. If the two areas are combined, around 30,000 residents will be affected by the traffic flows around the areas but the development is made area by area rather than a grand plan. Also, the citizens are not happy that the GTX-B Line skips only Guri City among 12 local administrative areas which is unfair and against government’s balanced development. So the city has strongly filed a complaint to the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairsa as well as lawmakers, and demanded to make things right regarding these two issues. For this, the city is running a taskforce team especially designed for this and the team includes lawmakers, city council members, provincial council members, railway experts and willing citizens.
Q. Does the city have a green new deal policy?
A. The city is working on ‘Guri 3740 Plan’ which is a low carbon policy. The plan encourages citizens to use eco-friendly mobility such as bicycle instead of noisy and fossil fuel vehicles when moving short distance while the city is creating more gardens by making most of the Han Riverside Parks. For this, the city is benchmarking Hyde Park in London, UK where citizens enjoy trees, lawns, flowers, gardens and a lake within the center of the city.
Q. You have left 8 months of your term?
A. Yes. As the mayor, I will do my best as I always have done for the last 3 years to make things better for citizens. Meanwhile, I’m ambitious to challenge for the consecutive term as the mayor in the coming elections next year.
Q. You have poured a considerable amount of energy and time to transportation?
A. I have. Currently, the city is working on bus garages, intelligent transportation system, Galmae Interchange, Taenung-Guri Interchange, GTX-B calling, connecting Gyeongchun Line, Bundang Line and Seoul Light Rapid Transit, Galmae Transit Center, Guri-Pocheon Highway, soundproof tunnels between Geumho and Hanjin apartment blocks, and extension of subway line 6 and 9.
Q. Lastly, do you have a message for citizens?
A. I moved to Guri when I was on my last university year due to financial difficulty of my family. We were lucky to rent a public apartment in the city and could be able to buy it after 5 years. Though it was a small 82 square meter house, I and my wife lived there with my parents. We lived there for more than 30 years. My two sons moved out but I still live there. So if I have a message to citizens, there is only one message: I lived in the city for 31 years, I know the city from A to Z, and I will keep finding what needs to be improved. (PowerKorea)
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