Yongsan Park will include the former DAPA, a military apartment plot

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Yongsan Park, now a vacant area slated to become a public park by 2027, will be expanded to contain a total of 3 million square meters of land by absorbing nearby sites that have been used by the military.

According to the revised plan for the establishment of Yongsan Park released Monday by the Ministry of Lands, the site of Yongsan Park has expanded by 570,000 square meters, or 23.5 percent, compared to the 2014 plan. turning USFK’s Yongsan Garrison into a national park was first established in 2011.

Some 95,000 square meters of land used for the Defense Acquisition Program Administration Office and 45,000 square meters of land housing military apartments will form part of the park. The new space will add an ecological space inside the park. But buildings with historical and artistic value will be preserved for later use for cultural programs, the ministry said.

While the 84,000 square meter US military hotel Dragon Hill Lodge located in the middle of Yongsan Garrison and a 57,000 square meter heliport were still excluded from the park site, the total area of ​​Yongsan Park is expected to increase by 30 000 square meters as accommodation facility for US Embassy employees will be established outside the park.

The revised plan also showed that, based on suggestions from Seoul citizens, the park will be open to the public 24 hours a day and will use smart technologies such as big data and IoT.

The ministry said establishing the park would cost some 2.1 trillion won ($1.7 billion), about 1.78 times more than the previous plan released in 2014.

In the meantime, the opening of Yongsan Park remains undecided.

It was originally planned to have an opening in 2027 when the U.S. military was expected to return the site by 2016. But with the delay in relocating to Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, the department said it had changed the timeline to seven years after the intervention of the American army. the move is complete.

This seven-year period includes conducting environmental studies on oil spills and other possible contamination incidents at the military site, which have raised public concern in recent years.

Last December, 2.9 million square meters of land that had been used as a sports field and softball stadium was returned to the South Korean government. But this still represents only 2% of the total land to be returned.

Early next year, the United States and South Korea agreed to return a quarter of the remaining site, some 500,000 square meters of land inside the Southpost area of ​​Yongsan Garrision where schools, sports fields and accommodation facilities for officers were installed. This equates to approximately 27 percent of the land to be returned to the country.

Authorities said the reason the return is taking time is that the ROK-US Combined Forces Command has yet to relocate and is still using major facilities such as telecommunications infrastructure inside the garrison. from Yongsan. CFC said it will complete the move to Camp Humphreys in the first half of next year.

In 2017, the relocation of 26 dispersed U.S. Army forces in Korea to Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province began with the relocation of the Eighth Army. The headquarters of U.S. Forces Korea left Yongsan in 2018.

The Korean government paid 91% of the total 12 trillion won it cost to build infrastructure at Camp Humphreys.

By Kim Da-sol (ddd@heraldcorp.com)

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