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November 5, 2009

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Locals' feelings mixed

FOR Shen Shikang and his neighbors in Pudong's Zhaohang Town, decades-old rumors that a Disneyland would be built in their farmland region finally were confirmed yesterday.

Now, Zhaohang, about a 20-minute drive from Pudong International Airport, has been selected as one of the locations for the new theme park.

"For years, we seemed to be so close to being told to leave to make way for the park, and this time it's for real," Shen, 57, said in an interview in front of his three-story home.

Shen and his family have lived for about 20 years in the village, whose population stands at about 4,000.

The town sits next to a highway and is served by several bus routes. Residents can ride about 30 minutes to Pudong's Chuansha area where they can take Metro Line 6 to the downtown. The eastern extension of Line 2 will also reach Chuansha before the Shanghai World Expo starts next May.

Most of Zhaohang's villagers are getting prepared to move out to make way for the park. In fact, they learned two months ago that their land would be requisitioned for a "big project," code-named "A-1."

On September 4, a notice went up saying that more than 4 million square meters of land in Zhaohang would be requisitioned.

Shen has handed over his family documents to village officials to facilitate relocation plans, which are still under discussion.

He said he has mixed feelings about the park, as he will be forced to an apartment built by the government somewhere else.

"The new apartment might be much smaller," said Shen who now lives in 428 square meters with three family members.

Others are happy, however.

"I am looking forward to seeing those famous cartoon characters," said a resident surnamed Liu, who plans to take her daughter to the amusement park.


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