Local News

Panel Supports Recommendation for Dix Campus

Posted January 22, 2007 6:30 a.m. EST
Updated January 22, 2007 7:18 p.m. EST

Dorothea Dix Campus
— Despite opposition, a legislative panel on Monday chose to support a list of recommendations to help craft legislation on the future of Raleigh's Dorothea Dix Hospital campus when it closes in 2008.

"We are looking at many plans and finding common ground," said Rep. Jennifer Weiss, D-Wake, who is the co-chair of the Dix Hospital Study Commission. "Our feeling was (that) it's important to look at key elements and values expressed in these recommendations so we could then go work with our colleagues,"

The commission chose not to support a plan by Dix Visionaries, which would transform the hospital campus into development on the borders of the property and a park in the middle. The plan does not include houses or condominiums.

Despite a three-year process, Greg Poole, with Dix Visionaries, feels the matter is being rushed. His group recently spent $150,000 for its own plan the commission would not take up on Monday.

"We have a larger vision. They have a more narrow vision. They are more happy with a smaller neighborhood park, if you will. We believe it's too magnificent," Poole said.

A separate proposal recently crafted by the Urban Land Institute includes 100 acres for residential use and 215 acres for a park more on the edges of the property.

"A big park would be nice, but you've got to have something that's practical, that really makes sense," Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker said. "And to me, the ULI plan is much more realistic for the state than what's being proposed otherwise."

Rep. Weiss hopes to have draft legislation in place to present to lawmakers this session. Some guidelines include preserving historic buildings, mental health services and open space. She said different parts of each plan could be included in the draft legislation.

Dix Visionaries is not giving up. This week, the group will meet with North Carolina State University, in which part of the campus lies, a major developer and six City Council members to try to sell its plan.