Plan will address Hannam housing concerns
Stars and Stripes March 29, 2006
SEOUL — Military officials hope to reveal a plan for addressing housing concerns at Hannam Village by next month’s town meeting, the commander of Area II support activity said during a radio call-in show this week.
“That plan is just about ready to go forward,” Col. Ron Stephens said Monday morning during his first on-air town hall meeting. “We’re trying to make Hannam Village the best place we can.”
Stephens and other military officials have released little information about the expected plan, which is to allow more options for the 1,000 residents at Hannam, military officials have said.
At the last town meeting at Hannam in January, Stephens said he hoped to begin offering solutions within a couple of weeks. The next meeting is scheduled for April 25, he said during the radio show on American Forces Network’s 102.7 FM.
Some Hannam residents have raised concerns about small living quarters, sewage smells, plumbing problems and insects. Fixing those problems is complicated, Area II staff have said.
Some of the problems are inherent to the aging buildings and would require a major overhaul to address. The military leases the buildings from the Korean National Housing Corporation, which is required under the lease agreement to address routine maintenance and repairs but not major renovations.
One caller asked Monday about the truth of recent rumors that Hannam will shut down, therefore shutting the door on any plans for repairs or improvements.
Stephens said it is true that Hannam eventually will close when most of U.S. Forces Korea moves south to the Camp Humphreys area, a transition that is scheduled for completion in 2008. Because of that scheduled move, the Korean housing corporation has little interest in making major repairs at Hannam, Stephens acknowledged Monday.
Other subjects addressed during the call-in show included:
Playground sand replacement. The specially-made sand has been ordered from the States, Stephens said, and should arrive within 90 days.
Protective headgear. Stephens reminded everyone using bicycles and skateboards that protective gear is required on base.
Taxis and meter use. One caller said he has seen taxi drivers linger outside of Gates 5 and 10 at Yongsan Garrison and attempt to charge servicemembers a flat fee rather than the Korean-required metered fare. Stephens said he would forward the complaint to the Korean National Police.
Taft Street parking. Yongsan residents were reminded that on-street parking along Taft Street, near the schools on Yongsan, is prohibited. The narrow street often is used by parents picking up their kids from school, but on-street parking can hamper traffic and even emergency vehicles.
Air conditioning. Residents were asked to be patient while waiting for air conditioning to be activated as the heating season ends. For many buildings, the change involves a once-a-season switch by the Directorate of Public Works staff. The criteria for making the change will be posted on Area II’s Web site soon.