RALEIGH -- The deal to sell the Dorthea Dix hospital property is done.
After about a decade of work, the final vote to transfer the land from the State of North Carolina to the City of Raleigh was taken Tuesday morning.
It was all smiles at the Council of State meeting on Tuesday morning as Gov. Pat McCrory and the state's other top elected officials met for the final vote on the Dix property deal.
“It’s about both park and providing services to mental health which continues the great legacy of Dorthea Dix,” said McCrory.
With the I's having now been dotted and T's crossed, the 300 plus acres of land where the former Dorthea Dix hospital sat, will now be the City of Raleigh's once it pays $52 million.
In turn, the city will lease about a third of it back to the state while it works out of plan for moving state office facilities off the property. And the land will be turned into what is being dubbed a destination park for the capital city.
For those who come on to the Dorthea Dix property today, it is easy to see the greenspace opportunities that the park can provide. But Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane says by the time this project is complete, the possibilities for this park are endless.
“I have had the most amazing list come across my desk. Everything from race car track, to casino, to ultimate frisbee. But it is really going to be a matter of what does everybody want to see. And the sky is going to be the limit,” said Mayor McFarlane.
The deal has not been an easy one. Prior to leaving office, then Gov. Bev Perdue had signed off on a deal with the city, only to have that agreement thwarted by state lawmakers.
It looked like a similar effort was underway for this deal with concerns that the sale would go back on the orginal deed for the land, calling for it to be used to help the mentally ill.
But state leaders say that concern has been put to rest.
“The deed is clear and our intent is clear that the proceeds will be used, purely for the needs of mental health patients in the state,” said Lee Roberts, state budget director.
And the next step is those proceeds. The City of Raleigh has until the end of this year to figure out the financing to make this purchase from the state.
City leaders say they will start working on the funding for this project at their next council meeting. They willingly have to decide if they will ask voters to support a bond for the project, or find funding through property taxes for the project.