RALEIGH, N.C. — Wake County legislators got an earful about the future of the Dorothea Dix Hospital campus Monday night.
Concerned citizens at a public hearing sounded off about what the state should do with the more than 300 acres the hospital sits on.
Since the mid-1800s, the site off Western Boulevard has been a care center for the mentally ill. The hospital is scheduled to close in 2007.
Wake County legislators will ultimately recommend to the governor whether the state should sell the land or keep it.
"The number one concern is that people are very passionate about this land," said Rep. Jennifer Weiss, (D) 35th District.
Legislators heard from the public, which had no shortage of ideas.
"The legislature should not sell the land. They should lease it so they know what's going on," said Robert Harper, a concerned citizen.
"What this state needs is a high-tech four-year school and that facility can be turned into that within a year," said John Brooks, a concerned citizen.
If the state-owned land is sold, most people said the money should go back into mental health.
"We've got 15,000 people that will be released back on the streets, and God help us, with that comes rapes, murders, killings," Dix employee Hope Turlington said.
Local legislators said the earliest they can make a recommendation is in March.