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[K-Wellness] Mokpo mayor looks to create city of art, culture, with plentiful jobs

‘I was chosen again by Mokpo citizens after four years. It is a huge honor and I feel a great responsibility. I will vigorously operate the city government, bearing in mind the citizen’s desire for change, development and innovation.’

By Korea Herald

Published : Dec. 19, 2022 - 10:19

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Park Hong-ryul, mayor of Mokpo, South Jeolla Province Park Hong-ryul, mayor of Mokpo, South Jeolla Province

Park Hong-ryul, the mayor of Mokpo, South Jeolla Province, pointed to “revitalization of the local economy” as the most important aspect of the city’s operation. He says he will focus on overcoming the current economic situation and building a basis for stable growth.

In particular, the mayor emphasized it is important to respond to current issues, including one concerning the city’s incineration plant, which have arisen from the city’s long history. To this end, he believes active communication with the public is essential to solving the issues.

After his inauguration, Park stated as the goal of the city government: “A hopeful leap! Big Mokpo, a city visited by young people.”

He aspires to make Mokpo into a city full of quality jobs while fostering new industries. He plans to attract 20 million tourists and to create the sort of living conditions that make young people want to stay.

“Local cities across the nation, including Mokpo, are in crisis. As competition between local cities is fierce, the local economic structure needs to be improved fundamentally,” Park said.

In particular, the mayor said the city plans to foster youth employment in the promising industries of the “fourth industrial revolution,” including electronics, electricity, robots, artificial intelligence and drones. The city has laid out a specific plan for building the “Smart Green Industrial Complex,” featuring its smart knowledge industrial center for public rental.

Park has focused on securing national funding to smoothly pursue the city’s projects. He visited the central ministries and agencies in-person to persuade officials to offer financial support.

The result was a splendid achievement. Eighty projects worth 658.6 billion won ($505 million) were reflected in next year’s national budget. Park said he will next make his best efforts to ensure the budget is reflected as much as possible in the parliamentary deliberation process.

The mayor has also put great effort into holding cultural and arts events, exhibiting the true nature of “Ye-hyang,” or the city of arts. The city autumn was enriched with events in the fall, including the Mokpo International Madang Art Festival, the Mokpo Gourmet Festa, the Mokpo Music Play and the Mokpo Port Festival. The 31st Korea Dance Festival was particularly evaluated as a great success.

On Oct. 1, Park launched a service for elementary, middle and high school students within the jurisdiction to take intracity buses for just 100 won.

The mayor now plans to focus on hosting the 104th National Sports Festival and the opening and closing ceremony of the 43rd National Para Games, which are a year away. As various sports competitions will be held in the city, he plans to use the opportunity to develop Mokpo into a sports tourism destination.

Park, who has shown strong determination to complete a merger with the coastal island area of Sinan County in South Jeolla Province, laid out a specific plan for it.

“The merger failed six times already, so we must not repeat the failure. We will build an emotional connection through various activities led by private organizations. In the administrative area we will develop a community of common destiny through continuous exploration of cooperative projects,” Park said.

Meanwhile, Park quickly set out to solve issues over the construction of a hotel on the island Samhakdo and an incinerator plant, considering the public’s great interest in the projects.

“Because there are various concerns -- such as violations of the right to health -- we will resolve the issues by the end of January 2023 after collecting residents’ and experts’ views,” the mayor emphasized.

“A dream you dream alone is only a dream, but a dream you dream together is reality. We will continuously make efforts to turn dreams into reality,” Park added.

By Yang Jung-won (7toy@heraldcorp.com)