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City hopes to take over Dix plot after patients move

Posted November 27, 2008

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— The arrival of Bev Perdue in the governor's mansion could signal a new direction for a prime piece of Raleigh real estate.

As the state Department of Health and Human Services plans to move patients from the outdated Dorothea Dix Hospital to a new facility in Butner, the city is looking for future uses for 300 acres of rolling hills the hospital now occupies.

"We would hope Governor-elect Perdue's administration will take a second look at this property and see about establishing a destination park for the whole state," Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker said Wednesday.

"That is something Gov. Perdue has written about before and talked about publicly and hopefully her administration will get fully behind this."

Meeker said he'd start to lobby Perdue's team about the issue in January.

"We expect one of two things: Either state would retain ownership and designate the property as a park site and lease it to a developer who would develop it," Meeker said, "Or, if the property were to be transferred, that it be transferred at fair market value to the city."

In a statement released to WRAL, Perdue said she's "committed to preserving open space and parkland ... of the Dix property," though she didn't get specific about timing or a possible sale to the city. She added, "Maintaining a majority of the land as green space for the enjoyment of future generations is a fitting use of this valuable property."

The governor-elect appears to be positioning herself for a compromise. In the past, many state leaders have called for a portion of the property to continue to be used for government office space. That would leave the rest of the parcel for the park Meeker is hoping for.

Of course, nothing can be done before the move of patients is complete.

That plan is on hold because of concerns raised by a patient advocacy group that the new Central Regional Hospital in Butner is not safe for employees or patients.

Eventually, Central Regional will replace both Dix and John Umstead Hospital, which is also in Butner. Umstead patients moved to that facility in July.

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  • Adelinthe Nov 28, 2008

    Greedy wretches. I think the city's just been lying in wait for that property, at the expense of the patients and their families.

    Praying for them.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • Timbo Nov 28, 2008

    It's owned by the state. Raleigh has no claim on it. The state needs to come up with a good use of the land.

  • Timbo Nov 28, 2008

    "Great location for a park: right across the street from a maximum security prison."

    They have/had soccer fields there already. What's the big deal?

  • superman Nov 28, 2008

    There are parks all over the county. So do we need another park downtown-- anyone would have to be either crazy or desperate to drive downtown to a park. A new super-wal-mart is what they need. That would draw people downtown. Perhaps even throw in a new Target! A school downtown-- I guess you would be in favor of busing the students from all over the county to a new school! Every parent wants their kids to be within walking or throwing distance of their house. Lease the land and build a brand new shopping center for the new convention center. Give the visitors a place to shop and spend their money.

  • something2say Nov 28, 2008

    It is hard to say how this property should be used. I think the land is beautiful but ..... I don't know if an open park would cause more headaches for our PD in this area with the crime rate and homeless in this area.

  • inform Nov 28, 2008

    Colliedave, actually, it's an awsome place for a park.

  • What if_I could Nov 28, 2008

    If this land is to benefit the people of NC, use this land wisely. Create a educationaly center for kids to go to school for at least a semester. Raleigh is the hub of governing body. Bring kids in, like the schoold of Math and Science, let the kids learn about the government. The judical system is down the road. This school should not be cater to anyone education standard. All kids should have access to the program. I have nothing against a park. But what is a park going to do for the further of our kids? There are many kids that have never been to Raleigh and probably will never get the chance. We need to broaden the scope of this young kids minds. Lobby Bev Perdue's office not to create a Park but to look after the future of our young...

  • Quagmire Nov 28, 2008

    Holly Hill just build a huge expansion. Since they are for profit, they will be feasting off of the taxpayer.

  • nealsgirl Nov 28, 2008

    Sorry I do not agree with MOM's post, I think the $130 million dollar Hospital in Butner should be used, heck with the workers from Dix(we know they don't want to come) there would surely be more staff, can't we all just try to make our tax-dollars work? I just don't understand the fact Dix is crumbling, there's a brand new facility in Butner with all new technology, nice surroundings, security doors, windows, cameras, but the staff at Dix is still complaining? Mayor Meeker is going to push them out of Dix for his own agenda, at least, give Central Regional it's due, who knows, you might even like your working conditions...and it might be worth the drive to Butner, at least you'll have a job in these times. What have you got to lose, crumbling Dix or CRH? I don't think rebuilding Dix was an option.

  • 1Moms_View Nov 27, 2008

    This hospital shouldn't be closed to begin with because of the need in this area for mental health beds. The new hospital is not up to standard. It is not ready for patients. When it is, patients from this area and even further west of Raleigh will not have easy access to treatment. Beds have been reduced and will be limited. Instead the money should have been spent on fixing up Dix and maintaining it for the people of this area. But, once again, politics and doing favors for buddies (real estate, building etc) took priority over patient needs. Many longterm patients from Dix were kicked back into the community without needed resources. This same type situation happened oh..about 15 years ago with poor results. They were put out to push for community placements. Even the services available then (which weren't enough) were more than what's now available. Many of these people are only stabilized in longterm care (hospitalized). They end up in communities without follow up care

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