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YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — Camp Hialeah, on the southernmost tip of the Korean peninsula in the port city of Busan, will close no later than August 2006, U.S. Forces Korea officials announced Wednesday.

The return paves the way for “further streamlining of U.S. Forces and the return of valuable real estate to the Republic of Korea as part of the Amended Land Partnership Plan,” according to a USFK news release.

The South Korean government and Busan City will negotiate over future use of the land, South Korean officials said Thursday.

Col. Kim Nak-jung, a Ministry of National Defense spokesman, said the land is to be sold to help offset the cost of relocating U.S. bases across the peninsula.

City officials, however, want the South Korean government to give them the land so they can build a city park.

Jang Seung-bok, with Busan City’s planning division, said under proposed plans the park would be finished by late 2008 and open to the public by early 2009.

Hialeah is home to 1,500 military and civilian personnel and about 133 acres of land will be returned, according to the release.

“Important functions and selected support facilities,” will be shifted to Camp Carroll, Camp Walker, Camp Henry and Chinhae, according to the release.

According to the Installation Management Agency-Korea Region Office’s Web site, major activities include the Garrison Commander’s Headquarters; the Busan Storage Facility; the 4th Quartermasters Company; housing and support services; Pier 8; and the 61st Chemical Company.

The transformation plan benefits include “a less intrusive presence in congested urban areas, increased safety for people in communities throughout the country and consolidated installations that will promote a higher quality of life than was possible on smaller, less modern bases,” according to the release.

Busan, the second largest city in South Korea with a population of 4.5 million, is one of the largest port containers in the world.

According to base historical records, the main area of the base once was owned by the Cho Sun Racing Association and was used as a horse-racing stadium. During World War II, the area was used by the Japanese Imperial Army to train and bivouac troops. During the Korean War, the 8069th U.S. Replacement Depot operated from the area, which was used as the main terminal for shipping and receiving U.S. troops and supplies.

Hialeah fell under responsibility of the 20th Support Group in Taegu on Sept. 4, 1990.

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