State officials voted unanimously Tuesday morning to sell the Dorothea Dix Hospital campus to the City of Raleigh for $52 million. This deal is more than a decade in the making.
The long-term plan is to transform the 300-plus acre site into a downtown park. Governor Pat McCrory said he hopes it becomes a destination for citizens across the state.
The Dorothea Dix Mental hospital opened before the American Civil War. Since plans to close the facility were announced in 2002, several development options have been considered. Mayor Nancy McFarlane says the next step is determining how to finance the purchase. She plans to meet with Raleigh officials this week.
The $52 million could come from a tax increase, voter approved bond referendum, or through other means. Once a financing option is selected McFarlane says the task moves to cultivating a destination park for citizens.
“It really is going to be a matter of what does everybody want to see – the sky is the limit. We want this to be someplace that nowhere else in North Carolina exists. The open space is incredible, if you’ve been up there you see these majestic old trees.
Council of State members say proceeds from the sale will go toward mental health. A specific plan for that money has not been finalized. One possibility is using a portion of the money to purchase equipment for a new mental health facility in Morganton.