Anyang Mayor Defends New City Hall Plan
By Bae Ji-sook
Anyang City is under fire for planning a 100-story city hall that could house a hotel, cinemas, shopping complexes and other facilities. Anyang Mayor Lee Phil-woon said Friday that the "Anyang Sky Tower" will be built on the current 60,736 square-meter site of Anyang City Hall by 2017.
About 10 percent of the space will be used for administrative offices but the rest will be filled with restaurants, a hotel, shopping mall and other leisure facilities, bringing 190 billion won in rent to the city coffers in 2017, he said.
The 2.2 trillion won-project will be financed by private investors, creating 42,000 jobs and 3.6 trillion won in gross economic effect, he said.
"More than 10,000 people will work in the building while 50,000 will commute or visit annually," the mayor of the southern satellite city of Seoul, said.
The plan is aimed at solving the city's growing deficit. The city raises only 65.3 percent of its annual budget, while relying on central government for the rest.
The administration is also in debt to the tune of over 70 billion won, which is expected to snowball.
To cope with this, the city has formed a task force, which will operate from today.
"This will be more of a project for citizens who have suffered from a lack of cultural facilities," Lee said.
However, civic groups, the city council and many others have hit out at the plan. The project has not been authorized by the Gyeonggi provincial government, which oversees the city administration, or the city council.
Council Vice Chairman Moon Su-gon said he was unaware of the plan.
Some portals and the city's Web sites are filled with criticism. Most of them say the construction is a waste of money since the current building was built only 14 years ago.
"The construction was a huge project at that time, consuming more than 60 billion won. Trying to build an even flashier building in just over decade is waste of time and money," the Anyang Federation for Environmental Movements said. Local governments usually reconstruct buildings that are over 30 years old.
About 18 local civic groups will hold protests in front of City Hall.
Anyang is the third local government that has been criticized for the construction of an "extravagant" city hall, following Seongnam and Pyeongtaek, both in Gyeonggi Province.