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Green projects, growing competitiveness marked Yongin’s 2020

Shaking off reputation for reckless development, Yongin moves forward with key projects

Yongin Mayor Baek Kun-ki speaks at the press conference for Yongin Central Park. (Yongin City)
Yongin Mayor Baek Kun-ki speaks at the press conference for Yongin Central Park. (Yongin City)
Yongin, Gyeonggi Province -- a city of some 1 million located about 40 kilometers south of Seoul -- announced the top 10 news items most popular with residents of the city.

An online survey to determine the top 10 news stories was conducted from Dec. 10-22.

A total 15,392 participants each selected up to five policies out of 20 listed. The number more than doubled from last year’s 7,110, with 1,727 participants (12 percent) from other cities also joining the survey.

According to the survey, the most important news story was the attraction of Surplus Global and LAM Research, global semiconductor equipment companies linked to SK hynix, as the city aims to create a semiconductor complex and generate more jobs (53.2 percent).

Other issues include the nation’s first elementary, middle and high school care support fund (51.5 percent), the approval of Yongin Special City (43.2 percent), the payment of disaster relief funds via the expansion of Yongin Y-Pay (40.7 percent) and the joint agreement for the extension of Subway Line No. 3 (40.2 percent).

The survey showed Yongin’s heightened expectations for an eco-friendly city.

Policies designed to push for the tentatively named Yongin Central Park (37.9 percent), establishment of new parks on 13 sites that had been unused for a long time (29.8 percent) and the promotion of three major agenda items to prevent reckless development (28.3 percent) also made the top 10.

Strengthening city competitiveness by attracting four government agencies (25.6 percent) and the opening of a new road, new M-bus route and three new Gyeonggi Premium bus routes (21.3 percent) rounded out the top 10.

Journalists, in particular, gave high remarks to eco-friendly policies including the push for Yongin Central Park.

Survey results also revealed that public servants took pride in the Singal Ogeori urban regeneration project and being ranked as the nation’s second most competitive local administration.

“Based on the top 10 news items selected by the people, we will once again sympathize with policies the people need. Little by little, we will steadily push for major policies that promote a sustainable, eco-friendly city and a self-sufficient economy in this third year of the seventh civil election,” said Yongin Mayor Baek Kun-ki.

The major policies included in the top 10 news are as follows:

School support fund

Yongin issued the nation’s first elementary, middle and high school care support fund to help with child care and to revive the economy from the pandemic. The city handed out 100,000 won ($91) to the parents of 137,000 elementary, middle and high school students in April.

The policy gained massive support, with 335.6 million won being issued on the first day of the application.

Yongin Special City

Yongin Special City finally became a reality. The Amendment Bill of Local Government Act, which gives special status to cities with a population of over 1 million, was passed in an Assembly plenary session, raising Yongin’s status to that of a special city.

A special city is a new type of local governing body that is given greater autonomy and discretion.

With access to autonomous urban development, development strategies can be tailored to the region. Administrative procedures will be simplified to speed up services to citizens and welfare benefits, including basic pension, disability pension and subsistence benefits, will increase.

The city said that this status will bring about improved standards of living to meet the size of a metropolitan city.

Expansion of Yongin Y-Pay

The city and Gyeonggi Province each issued 100,000 won per person to help the economy overcome the pandemic. The fund was paid through Yongin Y-Pay, credit cards and prepaid cards.

Since then, the national government has also provided the whole nation with disaster relief funds in a similar way, which was assessed to have a positive impact in the sales of mom-and-pop shops.

In an effort to support mom-and-pop shops, the city also expanded Yongin Y-Pay from 30 billion won to 134.3 billion won. According to the city, Yongin Y-Pay had a budget of 188.3 billion won in general and policy funds for 2020, with 94 percent, or 178.5 billion won, being used in the region.

Joint pact for Subway Line 3 extension

In February, the city signed an agreement with Gyeonggi Province and the cities of Suwon and Seongnam, as a joint response to the extension of Seoul Subway Line 3. The joint move was to attract the extension of Seoul Subway Line 3 in connection with the relocation of the Suseo train yard -- part of Seoul’s plans to cope with traffic congestion in the three cities.

In support of these measures, the city cooperated with Gyeonggi Province, Suwon and Seongnam to actively share opinions with the city of Seoul and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.

In November, Mayor Baek visited the National Assembly and met with Second Vice Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport Son Myung-soo to discuss “feasible service of extending Seoul Subway Line 3 and development of efficient alternatives,” which was received to further strengthen the city’s competitiveness.

Yongin Central Park project

The city’s Yongin Central Park project seeks to massively increase the green space in the city. To this end, the city will establish Gyeongancheon City Forest (Pogok-eup), Galdam Ecological Forest (Mohyeon-eup) and a flat urban park on the site of Mapyeong-dong Sports Complex.

In addition, the project will connect the Unhak and Ho-dong waterfront ecology project, endorsed by the Han River Basin Environment Office, with the Yubang-dong “Green Shelter for Citizens.”

The city also signed an agreement with Han River Basin Environment Office on a waterfront green zone development in April last year and November 2019.

By establishing a green network based on the Yongin Gangsan belt, the city is striving to secure a grand ecological space that will be open for all to enjoy.

New parks to be built in 13 sites

The city decided to push ahead to develop parks in 13 sites, plans for which were in danger of falling by the wayside as they were scheduled to expire by 2025.

Specifically, Pogok 39th, Eedong 87th, Pogok 56th, Tongsam, Seongbok 1, Yeongdeok 1 and Jukjeon 70, along with the Yangji Neighborhood Park will be established by 2022. Yeokbuk 2, Sinbong 3, Jungang and Gogi will be created by 2025. Pungdeokcheon 5 Neighborhood Park will be established by 2028 in connection with the Platform City Project.

The city plans to invest 450 billion won in nine urban parks, while parks on four sites, including Yeongdeok 1 and Jukjeon 70, will be developed as special projects for private park development.

3 policy pillars to prevent reckless development

The city has strongly promoted three policy pillars to prevent reckless development. Since June, the city has implemented four reform measures: improvement of agenda for housing approval, mandating traffic impact assessments, preannouncement of building permits and restraint on overpopulation in designated green zones.

In addition, a growth management plan around the mountain Gwanggyosan was arranged in October to prevent excessive damage to green zones and to foster a harmonious development with the surrounding terrain.

Moreover, an institutional system, which aligned logistics district unit planning with urban planning, was implemented in May to prevent congestion of logistics facilities. This was done by allowing designations only for sites more than 200 meters from boundaries of residential, school and library areas.

Yongin Mayor Baek Kun-ki attends the opening for a new Gyeonggi premium bus. (Yongin City)
Yongin Mayor Baek Kun-ki attends the opening for a new Gyeonggi premium bus. (Yongin City)
Strengthening city competitiveness

Yongin marked great achievements in balancing regional development and strengthening city competitiveness by attracting four government facilities.

First, the National Human Rights Education Institute, in charge of human rights education on behalf of the National Human Rights Commission, will be constructed on the site of the Customs and Logistics Center in Singal-dong, Giheung-gu.

Yongin Center of Small Enterprise and Market Service that supports small business owners also confirmed it would be opening next year. For this, Baek met with Cho Bong-hwan, chairman of the Small Enterprise and Market Service, to arrange the opening of the new office.

From next month, a passport issuance center -- Ministry of Foreign Affairs Suji branch -- will be established at the Suji-gu Office, making the process of obtaining a passport more convenient for Suji and Giheung residents.

A long-cherished desire of 16,000 farmers was resolved through the opening of the Yongin office of the National Agricultural Products Quality Management Service in Samga-dong, Cheoin-gu in March last year. The city put forth extensive efforts to place the office in the Cheoin district, where 90 percent of Yongin’s farmers reside.

Sinsu-ro opens, along with M-bus, Gyeonggi Premium bus routes

In November, the 6.44-kilometer Sinsuro, connecting Pungdeokcheon Intersection in Suji-gu to Hagal-dong Koryo Logistics Intersection, was fully opened after being in the works for over 18 years.

With the opening of the road, chronic traffic congestion in the area around Singal Ogeori was alleviated, and travel between Suji-gu and Giheung-gu was greatly improved. Started in May 2002, the construction included installing four bridges, one opening tunnel, one soundproof tunnel and 11 intersections -- with an investment of 328.4 billion won.

Earlier in September, a decision was made to establish a new Metropolitan Bus connecting Chodang Station to Seoul National University of Education Station and Bangbae Station. The city was able to get its second Metropolitan Bus in four years due to its diversified efforts.

In addition, a new Gyeonggi Province premium bus line from the Agok district to Seoul Yangji Citizen’s Forest began operation to improve commutes for residents in Giheung and Cheoin. The city said it would continue to improve commuting conditions to improve living standards.

“Despite the difficulties of COVID-19, last year was a year that drew an outline for the future of Yongin City by implementing an agenda and systems to prevent reckless development and by improving every aspect of the administration,” Mayor Baek said.

“In 2021, we will lead the future changes based on our previous achievements and step further into an eco-friendly, economically self-sufficient city to make Yongin a prestigious world-class city,” he added.

“Many think that the current era is a crisis, but a crisis is also an opportunity for change. With adamant determination, we will open the future for a prestigious best-in-class city.”

By Gha Hee-sun and Park Joung-kyu (  (