banner
@NCCapitol

Conservative group gins up opposition to Dix lease across NC

Posted November 29, 2012
Updated November 30, 2012

— As Raleigh officials negotiate with the Governor's Office to acquire the campus of Dorothea Dix Hospital for a 325-acre "destination park," a conservative group is calling people statewide to build opposition to the plan.

Under a proposed deal that the Council of State is scheduled to discuss next Tuesday, the state would lease all the Dix property to Raleigh, which would then lease back a portion of the property to the state as needed for Department of Health and Human Services offices.

"At this point in time, I can't absolutely say it'll go or that I'll have the votes," Gov. Beverly Perdue said Thursday, noting details of a deal aren't finalized.

Americans for Prosperity says the deal doesn't make sense for state taxpayers and that it primarily benefits those living in Raleigh and Wake County. The group began a "robo-call" campaign Thursday, encouraging people from other parts of the state to lobby officials to scotch the deal.

“This is a billion-dollar giveaway of taxpayer resources to Raleigh elites for another state taxpayer-funded cultural amenity," Dallas Woodhouse, AFP state director said in a statement, noting that state money already supports museums, parks and the North Carolina Symphony in Raleigh.

"Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton needs to explain how, in essence, giving away a valuable state property to one city benefits taxpayers in his native Rutherford County," Woodhouse said. "Auditor (Beth) Wood and Treasurer (Janet) Cowell, who are elected to protect all taxpayers, need to explain why this is a good deal."

Dorothea Dix Hospital Perdue decries partisan arguments against Dix plan

Democratic Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin and Republican Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry both said they want to study the Dix issue before any Council of State vote to ensure the state gets a good deal.

Documents obtained by WRAL News show that Perdue and her staff have been working on a deal for months and that they have discussed both an outright sale to the city as well as an arrangement under which North Carolina State University would own and manage the property.

Plans for the Dix property, which was established as the state mental hospital in the mid-19th century, have been developed in concert with plans to consolidate DHHS offices.

The agency is spread over 60 buildings throughout Wake County, including many on the Dix campus. Kevin McLaughlin, Perdue's deputy chief of staff, said the governor wants to consolidate DHHS into four or five buildings somewhere away from the Dix campus.

Lawmakers have been skeptical of Perdue's effort to consolidate those agencies and have openly questioned why she has pushed plans to move them to a new location rather than building on the Dix campus.

Some Republican legislative leaders say the Democratic governor is trying to create a legacy for herself with the deal, and they want a vote delayed until after Republican Gov.-elect Pat McCrory takes office next month, which also would give lawmakers a chance to review the plan.

Perdue took exception to that idea, saying negotiations aren't being rushed and shouldn't be a partisan debate.

"I've never known politics in this state or public service in this state to be this acidic, and I find it sad for the people of North Carolina, who expect more from their leaders, and I expect more," she said. "I wonder sometimes if maybe somebody's trying out for the Grinch in the Christmas play."

65 Comments

This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Oldest First
View all
  • pdbullard Dec 7, 1:00 p.m.

    Park Pork.

  • afk27503 Dec 3, 4:56 p.m.

    All of these politicians in this state are so self-serving in their interests...they are not working in any way for the good of the people of the state. While Perdue's approach is suspect, and all used as a park may not be best, the Repubs are simply looking for opportunities to sell to their developer cronies for the highest price and then likely get their own palms greased.

  • singularity1111 Dec 3, 3:54 p.m.

    Their agenda is to have a destination park. This has been well known for years. A destination park would benefit all of NC, just as the mental hospital did. The park would also drastically raise the value of all the property surrounding. Plus, it would effectively link pullen park with the golf course.
    What would be the downside? What would we do with the property?

  • Ready2Taxi Dec 3, 3:18 p.m.

    I don't understand the Governor's last minute haste. The original grant of that land to the state was specifically for a mental health facility, which benefited all citizens of the state for a century. Now the Governor wants give the City a 99 year ground lease, the net present value of which is a faction of the appraised value offered by the City. Which would you rather have - $50MM cash next Tuesday or $50MM spread out over the next century? Makes me wonder what the Governor's and Visionarys' real agenda is.

  • singularity1111 Dec 3, 2:32 p.m.

    I don't understand the opposition. What good would that plot of land be to the rest of the state no matter what was there? Makes me wonder what Americans for Prosperity's real agenda is.

  • atheistswillrule Nov 30, 6:34 p.m.

    Well I don't know. But if Bev is for it, then it must be bad so I'm against it. Short sighted I know, but probably not too far off. Bartmeister

    Well, Bev is against gay marriage, SO, I guess NOW you will be for it ms. Bart?

  • atheistswillrule Nov 30, 6:33 p.m.

    Where is the benefit to the rest of the state? (and don't try to sell the idea of a "destination park" since the majority of users will be from the Triangle area). ps8611

    One would assume that ALL residents of NC had access to Dix Hill when it was a mental hospital, correct? All residents of NC will have access to Dix Hill when it is made into a park. How can you not see the logic in that. Anything that makes Raleigh a better place reflects attractively on the entire state.

  • Bartmeister Nov 30, 5:55 p.m.

    Well I don't know. But if Bev is for it, then it must be bad so I'm against it. Short sighted I know, but probably not too far off.

  • TVs_Deceit Nov 30, 5:39 p.m.

    so dwntownboy has a vested interest given that's he's been living in the neighborhood for 20 years.

    hedgy_one has an vested interest living there as well. So, you've been a member "friends of the park" for years? The State closed it down too?

    You've proved a couple of my points. The Democratically controlled State cleared out the hospital for their Democratic friends that have buying up the Boylan Heights property.. like I basically pointed out. And that's the plan they've had for years like you've been a member of "Friends of the Park". What park. There's no park there now. Oh yeah, that's why the hospital was closed and the mentally-ill shipped away to Butler so you could have a big park basically to yourselves over there.

    I was born and raised in Raleigh, I've been here for 50 years and grew up close to the area. I know how it works. No need to waste your "we really preferred a hospital for the mentally-ill in our park that we've been planning for years" on me.

  • beachboater Nov 30, 5:27 p.m.

    "I've never known politics in this state or public service in this state to be this acidic, and I find it sad for the people of North Carolina, who expect more from their leaders, and I expect more," she said. "I wonder sometimes if maybe somebody's trying out for the Grinch in the Christmas play."

    The people do expect more Ms. Purdue. That is why the composition of the legislature and governor's mansion has changed so drastically in the last 2 years. People are tired of the good ole boy democrat network that has been in power for the last 100 years.

    We as taxpayers want to see some value for our tax dollars.

More...