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Former Wall Street titan joins Dix park effort

Posted July 29, 2009

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— Dick Jenrette, the co-founder of Wall Street investment bank Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, has pledged his support for a plan to convert the Dorothea Dix Hospital campus to a destination park.

The Dix Visionaries group wants to create a version of New York's Central Park on the 306-acre campus south of downtown once the state closes the mental hospital there.

“I am proud to pledge my support to a cause deeply tied to the future of my hometown,” Jenrette said in a statement. “It’s important we seize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to preserve Raleigh’s history for future generations, keep green and open spaces and provide a place of recreation and tranquility for all North Carolinians. Dix Park would be an incredible benefit to all North Carolinians and a lasting and fitting monument to Dorothea Dix.”

Jenrette left the investment banking business in the mid-1990s, and he now restores historic homes as founder of the non-profit organization Classical American Homes Preservation Trust.

“Dick Jenrette’s support underscores the importance of our cause, as he is a national figure and ardent conservationist,” Gregory Poole Jr., president of the Dix Visionaries board of directors, said in a statement. “He is highly respected for his incredible foresight in both business and community ventures. We are honored to have his support.”


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  • nic Jul 30, 2009

    Why is this news? Dix is not even slated to close until 2012 and that will probably get pushed back also.

  • IceCreamMan Jul 29, 2009

    Two problems w. this scenario...

    1 - It doesn't boost the local economy at all.

    2 - It'll be a cesspool of crime based on the surrounding areas.

    Basically it's a bad idea. The whole area needs to be revamped and revitalized, and the only way for that to be feasible is for a mixed-use development. A park alone there will be a disaster.

  • 8675309-9 Jul 29, 2009

    Claudnc - I don’t think the closing of those facilities is up for argument anymore....someone correct me if I am wrong....but they are all in need of repair and or rebuilding...it is cheaper to move the patients elsewhere.

    No plan is perfect.

  • claudnc Jul 29, 2009

    I am upset we are moving the mentally ill out of a facility to build a park. You might not have to worry about the criminal element on the south side. The biggest worry should be some one not taking their daily meds and decompensating. It still makes not one bit of sense to me...

  • kiediss Jul 29, 2009

    You read my mind. A. Surrounding Neighborhoods will get a big facelift. B. Move the Gov't housing out to never never land or no one will want to spend time in the park.

  • oyid Jul 29, 2009

    I am all for making it a park. But i think this land is too premium for some developers to keep their itchy hands off it.

  • KevinUNC97 Jul 29, 2009

    Let's all praise this Wall Street banker who is partly responsible for this economic mess we are in! I wonder where this guy his money from? My guess...our 401K's. We shouldn't be praising this guy for getting another tax write-off.

  • mjjunk Jul 29, 2009

    I think allowing a single row of condos with shopping on the main floor mixed with some new single family homes along Lake Wheeler Rd would help improve the entire surrounding neighborhood and provide a buffer between the "scary" part and the new park.

  • Frank Downtown Jul 29, 2009

    It would make an most excellent park- but dont let the developers in. It should have no condos, houses, or business. Trails, views, and such should be the only thing allowed out there.

  • Weaker Pelosi Jul 29, 2009

    Sounds good, but you have to wonder about the criminal element that may come with it. Because on the south side of the campus is a little scary.