Residents polled about Camp Casey’s future
July 27, 2008
CAMP RED CLOUD, South Korea — About half of Dongducheon’s citizens agree that Camp Casey should close and its units should move to Camp Humphreys, according to a phone survey conducted by the 2nd Provincial Office of Gyeonggi Province.
Seventeen percent of respondents strongly agreed and 30.8 percent said they agreed with the planned move. Another 16.4 percent disagreed.
Provincial office officials refused Friday to answer Stripes queries about the 35.8 percent that gave other responses.
Respondents were more emphatic about the move’s timeline, according to the study. Results showed 57.2 percent wanted the move to happen by 2012, which is the latest estimate for nearly all troops stationed from Seoul northward to move to Camp Humphreys, located south of Seoul in Pyongtaek.
Earlier plans had the move scheduled for 2008.
Dongducheon residents have experienced economic difficulties as U.S. forces on the peninsula have steadily dwindled in the last decade, said Han Bae-soo of the 2nd Gyeonggi Provincial Office.
Now they want a predictable timeframe for what they consider inevitable, he said.
"The most critical point is that Camp Casey is taking up 42 percent of the entire land of the Dongducheon city," Han said. "The local people want it back so that they can build and develop something nice on the returned land."
Those who opposed the move mostly said it would affect them financially. Dongducheon, a city of about 90,000 people, has 3,000 people directly or indirectly employed on post, Han said. Another 400 households’ income depends on businesses that cater to soldiers.
When dependents are factored in, Han estimates that about 12,000 people rely on U.S. troop presence in the city.
When asked what they wanted to replace the military bases, pluralities said they preferred an information technology or environmentally centered industrial complex.
The survey — conducted July 7-11 —randomly selected 716 residents age 20 or older. The survey had a margin of error of 3.5 percent, officials said.