Raleigh, N.C. — Plans to convert the former Dorothea Dix Hospital property into a major park near downtown Raleigh picked up some support this week.
Businessman Gregory Poole III donated $250,000 to a fund that park boosters are putting together to help Raleigh develop a master plan for the project.
"As a business owner, I look for ways to give back to the community," Poole said. "This is an opportunity to invest in something that will be here a long, long time."
Raleigh last month signed a lease of up to 99 years for the 325-acre state property.
Poole leads Dix Visionaries, a group that wants to raise $3 million for the master plan. The A.J. Fletcher Foundation committed $1 million toward the planning effort in December. The foundation is led by Jim Goodmon, chief executive of Capitol Broadcasting Co., the parent company of WRAL, and his wife, Barbara Goodmon.
Poole said he hopes his gift will spur other donations.
"It will foster a park that will create an economic engine for the surrounding areas," he said. "That will drive jobs. It will drive a larger tax base, that will drive where Fortune 500 CEOs are looking for places to expand or move their business. It will be vital for that."