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Ambitious agricultural park for Fengxian

Aug 18, 2017



Construction has started this week on a massive "agricultural art park" along Huangpu River in Fengxian District.

The plan is to turn Fengxian's traditional farm industry into tourism venues and museums.

The city government aims to build a batch of country parks in the outskirts to attract tourists as well as to help to improve the environment. No date has yet been announced for the project's completion.

The agricultural park covering 48 square kilometers is mainly sited in Zhuanghang Town, the city's major rice production base. It will incorporate about 150 farm and garden complexes with trees, rivers, lakes and streets, for tourists to plant or lease, and invite local farmers to grow products or flowers for them, said the district government.

"The ownership of the farmlands and the houses will not be changed and will always belong to the villagers," Zhuang Mudi, the Party secretary of Fengxian, said. The agricultural park would help local farmers to become richer while creating a place for downtown residents to get close to nature, he added.

The new facilities for the future park would be built on land that was previously occupied by small factories and workshops that had been torn down due to pollution problems and low efficiency to make way for the park project.

The park will include museums, hotels, sports facilities and public kitchens for tourists to cook fresh products that they harvest from the farmland.

The park will also offer a home-stay service for tourists to experience the city's most authentic countryside lifestyle, said Hua Yuan, director of Fengxian. Some of the factory houses along the river will be kept as a former memory of the district, Hua said.

The district government had found 18 "valuable industrial heritages," such as a former cement plant within the park.

Companies are encouraged to move into the historic buildings after renovations, he added.

A historic Chenghuang, or City God, Temple and a dozen ancient bridges will be preserved to become attractions in the future park.

Zhuanghang Town originated during the Song Dynasty (960-1279) and historically has been the agricultural base of the city. It features Shanghai's best paddy fields, for both high quality and production. The historic town has also kept many traditional folk arts such as paper-carving, agricultural poetry and the Hanguang ceramic, a local intangible cultural heritage.

Many of the cultural heritages will be showcased in the park as numerous inheritors are living in the town, officials said.

Though the area will involve some revamping for the agricultural park, the size of farmland won't be reduced and the original countryside flavor would be kept, according to Hua.

The city government is pushing to demolish outdated factories in suburban districts to create space both for country parks and for good quality agricultural land. Forty-one square kilometers of former industrial land have been redeveloped since the demolishing campaign started in 2014.

They are being replaced by some 20 suburban country parks covering a total of 130 square kilometers to improve the environment and air quality for local residents.

Several parks, including Changxing Island and Jinshan Langxia country parks as well as the Pujiang Country Park in Minhang District have already opened to public.

Jiabei Country Park in Jiading District will open to the public in a trial operation on September 23, the district government said yesterday. The new park will be featured by 500,000 square meters of forests, as well as 18 sightseeing bridges.

These parks, which offer free admission, help urban dwellers to relax, promote the sales of farm products, and preserve local ecosystems, according to the administration.

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