Local Politics

Meeker plans to keep Raleigh moving ahead in 2010

Posted January 1, 2010

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— High-speed rail, a new public safety center and making the long-planned regional park on the Dorothea Dix Hospital campus a reality are among Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker's goals for 2010.

"I'm an optimist, and I think this year's going to be a much better year than 2009," Meeker said Friday. "I'm looking forward to a great 2010."

Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker Raleigh mayor looks forward to 2010

Last year saw unemployment in Wake County hit 8.5 percent as the region and the state struggled with the continuing recession. Meeker said he expects the economy to improve in the coming months.

"I think things ought to turn around fairly soon in the spring, and by the summer, I hope we're rolling again," he said.

The slow economy has delayed construction of the $226 million Clarence E. Lightner Public Safety Center downtown, and he said he hopes to see work get started this year. He said he also looks forward to securing federal funding for high-speed rail through Raleigh.

"The (high-speed) passenger rail is really the technology of the future," he said.

Meeker said he'd like to see improvements to Wake County's public transportation and school systems and would finally like to get a shot at transforming the Dorothea Dix property into a destination park.

The state is slowly moving patients from the aging mental hospital on the Dix site, but officials have repeatedly delayed closing the facility altogether. Raleigh officials have offered to buy the 306-acre property from the state for $10.5 million in hopes of creating a Central Park-type attraction just south of downtown.

Meeker refuted criticism that he pays too much attention on Raleigh's downtown and not enough parts of the city outside the Interstate 440 Beltline.

"The great majority of what the city does, of course, is way outside the Beltline," he said. "For example, the Falls of Neuse Road widening (and) extension is the biggest road project that we've ever undertaken – $30 million – and, of course, it's way outside the Beltline."

He said his primary goal is to keep Raleigh among the best places to live in the nation.

"In many ways, it's harder to stay on top than it is to get on top. We've been recognized, but we've really got to keep moving forward to retain those ratings," he said.


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  • Weaker Pelosi Jan 4, 2010

    Just can't wait for a central park and the muggings and sexual assaults that will surely go along with it. The area south of the campus is really rough. The thought of a central park is nice, but it will create problems.

  • bomanicous Jan 1, 2010

    "Aren't there enough vacant buldings that can be retrofited for a lesser amount?"

    Winston Salem just did that with an old abandoned tobacco company, it's a nice building now.

    They won't let the lack of public support stop their plan for a high-speed rail that won't go to southeast Raleigh or the airport (the 2 areas where public transportation is used most), like we shouln't care about how they waste our money. Reconstructing the bus system and synchronizing traffic lights would be a nice boost to help resolve the traffic issues in Raleigh.

  • colliedave Jan 1, 2010

    The dude is part of an orgamization that cannot design an effective bus system, why should we trust him to build a high-speed rail system.

    And why the need for a high dollar public safety building? Aren't there enough vacant buldings that can be retrofited for a lesser amount?

  • whatelseisnew Jan 1, 2010

    In other words hang on to your wallets because that is the only thing he wants.

  • dmccall Jan 1, 2010

    Yep, let's hold a gun to the heads of taxpayers and force them to buy the MOST EXPENSIVE way to move people: high occupancy rail. I was hoping our mayor would shoot a little higher and go for some new technology that would the envy of other cities, instead of a Jones-keeping measure.