Initial Agreement Reached on Dorothea Dix Property
By: Jack Tarpey
The city of Raleigh and the state legislature appear to have reached an initial compromise on the future of the Dorothea Dix campus property. The ongoing battle between the city and state focuses on the deal that was signed by former Governor Beverly Perdue, which leased the 325-acre property to the City of Raleigh for development into a ‘destination park.’ The original Senate Bill (SB334) on the issue would have dissolved the lease entirely, allowing the state to take back the property through condemnation powers. This was met with immediate threats of lawsuits, and so a rewritten version of the bill was passed unanimously yesterday in the House Judiciary Committee.
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The updated version attempts to appease both parties, allowing until April 1, 2014 for the city and state to renegotiate the terms of a sale of property. The biggest concession to the city in the new version of bill is the possible addition of the Morehead property, which would link the Dix campus to Pullen Park. Additionally, the bill provides for a portion of the land to be preserved by the state for the Department of Health and Human Services, while the rest of the land would be sold to the City. Revenue from this sale is to be put towards mental health purposes. Finally, if an agreement is not reached by next April, the bill allows the city to proceed with a lawsuit.
A press conference was held this morning with both Governor Pat McCrory and the Mayor of Raleigh, Nancy MacFarlane. The video can be found here.