Raleigh, N.C. — Four years of conflict over the Dorothea Dix property was officially put in the rear-view mirror when, at 10 a.m. Friday, Raleigh leaders recorded the deed for the 306-acre property.
"As we enter into the next stage of park planning and development, I look forward and encourage the community to engage in the park visioning and public input process. Together, we are going to create a world-class destination park that all North Carolinians can be proud of and enjoy," Mayor Nancy McFarlane said in a statement.
The Dix property was once the home to North Carolina's main public mental hospital. The last patients left the facility in 2012.
Gov. Bev Perdue, a Democrat, offered in 2012 to lease the property to the city for 99 years, a deal that immediately drew the ire of the Republican-led General Assembly.
When he came into office in January 2013, Gov. Pat McCrory continued to pursue a deal. The road to that deal was tumultuous, with negotiators for the city and state sometimes accusing one another of not representing the value of the property fairly.
But on Jan. 12 of this year, McFarlane and McCrory inked and agreement for the city to buy the property. Raleigh leaders agreed to pay $52 million, money they have since borrowed.
Now, Raleigh will turn its attention to creating a destination park with the property. Some pieces will remain in the hands of the state for a little while. North Carolina's Department of Health and Human Services is still based on the campus and will look for a new home as plans for the park are developed.