Local News

Dorothea Dix Property Up For Grabs

Posted February 4, 2004 6:17 a.m. EST

— Some groups would love to get their hands on the property at Dorothea Dix Hospital, which is closing in 2007. Those same groups all have different ideas about what to do with it.

Before anyone can bring in backhoes, a study commission will look at how the land can best be used.

"We are being given this opportunity to do some good planning and make some recommendations in the event the property is ultimately sold," said Rep. Jennifer Weiss, D-Wake.

The potential price tag for the 335 acres is more than $40 million, but the state could choose to use some of it for government offices, part of an university or leave it as open space.

"It's a very rare situation to have almost a square mile of largely undeveloped property within yards of your central business district and it's a huge opportunity and we need to approach it carefully," Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker said.

Ann Akland, of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, said she would like to see some of the money from the sale go to back into the mental health system, but she said she is skeptical that will happen.

"I think history says that the state is not going to share it. They haven't so far," Akland said. "There has been 1,600 acres that have been used for other purposes. None of the money has gone to mental illness."

The eight-member study commission will meet to discuss the issue on Friday. They will have a public hearing 6 p.m. Monday at the Legislature auditorium to get input from citizens on the property. Ultimately, the decision on how to use to the land will be up to the governor and the Council of State.