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Dorothea Dix Property

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I dunno-- to me there's a really big difference between habitat/ecosystem planning and parks & rec uses of land. Since it's tough to play soccer in the woods, the two are usually incompatible. I think it's inappropriate to have a vast unused area so close to downtown and expect to see anything other than sprawl in the rest of the community.

I like the campus/land swap idea, though. Very creative; very outside the box.

I am cool with 170 acres and understand politics, municipal debt load, and the reality of the situation.....I am just laying out what the anti development folks are thinking, and the constant reduction in Dix sizeis certainly part of their work up...

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I think the Dix Park folks have a great argument about losing the land that was part of the original property, but they don't have an achievable plan so far as I can see. I'd love to see it all preserved, but unless a benefactor buys it and gives the land to the city as a park, it seems unlikely to happen.

For the park supporters, they need to reconcile the following issues:

1. How does the city pay for purchasing the land? (not the state--the state clearly will want dollars from this as ULI pointed out)

2. How does one account for the ~3k DHHS employees that need to be relocated under "one roof"?

3. In what way will a park satisfy the desire for historic preservation of significant exisiting buildings and what will there uses be?

4. How would a memorial or other tribute to Dorthea Dix be developed?

5. How would the park be integrated and well connected (the property is VERY isolated) with other nearby uses/communities, etc?

Unless Park supporteers can come up with a feasible plan that answers AT LEAST those questions, I think the 100% park idea is dead in the water. They better move fast because the ULI plan appears to have support in the right places.

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The 100% park idea is all but dead in my opinion. I just don't see this happening. They should be proud that their lobbying efforts have gotten the amount of dedicated park they are looking at.

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I still wish they could have added the new NC Museum of Art in with the plans. Considering the state of NC is giving them about $75 million dollars, maybe they could have added it all in with the cost of the whole property. And Raleigh,(especially downtown), would come out looking all that much better! :)

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I am good friends with someone who is heavily involved in this project. Apparently, one problem is that Mayor Meeker is being very nearsighted about the whole thing. He's thinking in terms of what will happen during his term in office, whereas the reality is that the decisions made will drastically affect the development of the city over the next hundred years.

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If Pullen Park, Chavis Park, Lake Johnson, Umstead Park, the Neuse river basin, Lake Wheeler, and other parks did not exist, I would be for saving the the Dix property as a park. If the city was not developing Horseshoe Farm, Durant, and 170 acres at Dix (including the Grove) as future parks, I would be concerned.

But the parks we have do exist, and the city is adding more. Where Central Park is an oasis on the island of Manhattan where almost every other square inch is an impervious surface, the Dix property is one of many parks in a city of Oaks. People often don't Raleigh's forest for its trees. Would the friends like their offices torn down to make way for a park? Has their office always been an office for the last 50+ years? I doubt it.

The "friends" of Dix are as blindly anti-everything as the John Locke Foundation. Past partitioning of the land have made the Dix property smaller, but is the city better or worse off? Would the Farmer's market be the size it is if it was still constrained to the size of the Greenshields building? Would NC State have been able to produce as many techological innovations without the space provided by Centennial Campus? Will uprooting thousands of Health and Human service employees to some unknown location have a positive affect on the area?

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I am good friends with someone who is heavily involved in this project. Apparently, one problem is that Mayor Meeker is being very nearsighted about the whole thing. He's thinking in terms of what will happen during his term in office, whereas the reality is that the decisions made will drastically affect the development of the city over the next hundred years.

You use the phrase "very nearsighted ". What proof do you have that this is the case? Mayor Meeker has helped bring about several suggestions from different groups, (leading to some possible long term solutions). He appears to be a good go between with the City of Raleigh and the State of NC. He is not perfect of course, but please name other individual persons,(not group/s), that have put forth an equal amount of suggestions? Also, I can't think of any other person,(in politics), who has put forth the same vigor about downtown in as many years! :)

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I am good friends with someone who is heavily involved in this project. Apparently, one problem is that Mayor Meeker is being very nearsighted about the whole thing. He's thinking in terms of what will happen during his term in office, whereas the reality is that the decisions made will drastically affect the development of the city over the next hundred years.

Can you elaborate on "very nearsighted?" From what I gather he has latched onto the ULI plan, which so far as I can see is the best compromise out there. Perhaps the fact that it doesn't preserve 100% of the land for a park is considered "nearsighted" by some opponents.

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N&O: Council votes to move forward with a plan to buy Dix Property.

Release from the City Manager's office

Council members approved an action plan that includes developing a strategy to garner support of the Wake County legislative delegation and reviewing further the legality of a financing plan for the proposed acquisition.

I may have some more juicy info on this deal (I found out today)...

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I like all the aspects of the plan from the city release-just happy there won't be any softball/baseball/soccer fields that seem to pop up everywhere and for the most part never get used.

I may have some more juicy info on this deal (I found out today)...

Is this good or bad news?

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Is this good or bad news?

Basically, from the info I have, it's like this.

ULI has a local trustee named Patricia Healy... But Urban Land trustee Trish Healy of Raleigh said that the Dix property would attract volunteers because it is a compelling problem.'This is 300 acres in the capital of a state, adjacent to downtown and public uses,' she told the task force. 'This is very interesting intellectual work. We have people standing in line wanting to do this.'...

Both Patricia and her husband John are on the ULI Triangle Executive Committee, which I can only assume pushed for this independent panel to come and look at this issue...

Assistant Chair

John Healy

Principal, Hyde Street Holdings, LLC

Raleigh, NC

Vice Chair - Membership

John Healy

Principal, Hyde Street Holdings, LLC

Raleigh, NC

Treasurer

Patricia Healy

Principal, Hyde Street Holdings, LLC

Raleigh, NC

Trustee

Patricia Healy

Principal, Hyde Street Holdings, LLC

Raleigh, NC

Also on the committee are Craig Davis, Smedes York, and Roger Perry of East-West Partners. What do they have in common? All big local developers. What's interesting about the Healys is that John Healy is also on the Board of Directors of Avalon Bay, Inc, which is a large publically traded Real Estate holding company (ticker symbol AVB). The implication is that ULI is simply a front for a large development interest to have the inside track on being able to develop this property (presumably involving other local development interests as well).

I looked a bit at Avalon Bay's website, and I can only assume that after chiefly working in large metro areas across the US, they would love to move into a surging growth market like RDU. Maybe there is a conflict of interest there. I'm not sure, but the person I spoke to seemed to indicate there is, and folks are investigating.

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Basically, from the info I have, it's like this.

ULI has a local trustee named Patricia Healy... But Urban Land trustee Trish Healy of Raleigh said that the Dix property would attract volunteers because it is a compelling problem.'This is 300 acres in the capital of a state, adjacent to downtown and public uses,' she told the task force. 'This is very interesting intellectual work. We have people standing in line wanting to do this.'...

Both Patricia and her husband John are on the ULI Triangle Executive Committee, which I can only assume pushed for this independent panel to come and look at this issue...

Assistant Chair

John Healy

Principal, Hyde Street Holdings, LLC

Raleigh, NC

Vice Chair - Membership

John Healy

Principal, Hyde Street Holdings, LLC

Raleigh, NC

Treasurer

Patricia Healy

Principal, Hyde Street Holdings, LLC

Raleigh, NC

Trustee

Patricia Healy

Principal, Hyde Street Holdings, LLC

Raleigh, NC

Also on the committee are Craig Davis, Smedes York, and Roger Perry of East-West Partners. What do they have in common? All big local developers. What's interesting about the Healys is that John Healy is also on the Board of Directors of Avalon Bay, Inc, which is a large publically traded Real Estate holding company (ticker symbol AVB). The implication is that ULI is simply a front for a large development interest to have the inside track on being able to develop this property (presumably involving other local development interests as well).

I looked a bit at Avalon Bay's website, and I can only assume that after chiefly working in large metro areas across the US, they would love to move into a surging growth market like RDU. Maybe there is a conflict of interest there. I'm not sure, but the person I spoke to seemed to indicate there is, and folks are investigating.

Conflict of Interest or not...It's still a good plan that hasn't been compromised by "potential" financial agendas. I think it would be a problem if the plan didn't address so many of the concerns involved (barring the 100% park land crowd).

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Here is a link to this week's Independent article.

It is amazing how the "friends" can't see the forest for the trees. Making all the Dix land a park will only make the land in Bolyan Heights even more expensive and push other high end development to the other side of Lake Wheeler. Where will the people who live there now go? The friends don't care -- they're friends of the park, not friends of Raleigh. It will become a playground for the Boyland Heights elite. Mr. Geary was pimping Caraleigh years ago, but if Dix is all park, newcomers won't be able to afford it.

If the west side of Lake Wheeler from Western to 40 is developed as offices and a village, the middle class might be drawn to -- and actuall afford -- land in Saunders North and the triangle formed by Lake Wheeler, Maywood and South Saunders.

The article continues the "friends" dismissal of Pullen Park right across the street and Chavis Park on the other side of downtown.

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Dix Park or Dix Development

The key land use difference between the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and Friends of Dix Park plan is where the development occurs and how it affects its neighbors. In the Friends plan the development is concentrated around the edges of the park. This benefits the existing residential and commercial neighborhoods adjacent to the park and distributes the development opportunities to many land owners and developers.

On the other hand, the ULI plan concentrates all the development to a very few developers on the state owned property. The ULI development separates the park from Lake Wheeler Road and creates a barrier to the redevelopment of these neighborhoods by offering new construction on state owned land that will overwhelm the market in the surrounding neighborhoods stalling their renewal for years.

If the "sense" of the park flows through the Farmers' Market, then Dix Park will merge into Centennial Campus, Lake Raleigh and the new Walnut Creek Park adding much more green space to explore. It is this synergy between the 306 acre Dix Park, the University, and the City Park that extends the Dix property so it can become a World Class Destination Park gaining regional significance for the enjoyment of residents and visitors as well as an vital economic engine for the region and the state.

If we default to the ULI plan that restricts the park to 200 acres adjacent to a 250 acre development for 9,000 residents and 20,000 employees it will demote the park from a "World Class Destination Park" to a "Very Nice Community Park", which while fine for the people buying into the new neighborhood and working at the new offices, will do little to attract the amenities that make a park

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As a member of FDDP I would like to answer ChiefJoJo's questions regarding the FDDP plan in some detail below. For further information on Friends of Dorothea Dix Park (FDDP) you can visit their website DixPark.org

For the park supporters, they need to reconcile the following issues:

1. How does the city pay for purchasing the land? (not the state--the state clearly will want dollars from this as ULI pointed out)

2. How does one account for the ~3k DHHS employees that need to be relocated under "one roof"?

3. In what way will a park satisfy the desire for historic preservation of significant existing buildings and what will there uses be?

4. How would a memorial or other tribute to Dorthea Dix be developed?

5. How would the park be integrated and well connected (the property is VERY isolated) with other nearby uses/communities, etc?

1. ... pay for purchasing the land...

The land is purchased using TIF Tax Increment Financing (Which does not raise anyone's taxes) the same way the ULI plan does , except the TIF district is around the park rather than in it. It is also expected that the University residential development would enter the tax rolls under the TIF.

2. ...~3k DHHS employees...

The FDDP (Friends) plan calls for all the DHHS employees to remain in the renovated buildings on the Dix Campus and to renovate additional buildings as needed for their offices, and then to remain in those offices for as long as they need them. FDDP expects they will migrate out to better facilities in 20 to 30 years. Their offices in the park will help with the development of the park as it is building out over many years.

3. ...historic preservation...

The plan includes the preservation of the significant buildings. Initially DHHS will occupy most of them, and then FDDP expects that appropriate projects will apply to the park authority to renovate and use the buildings for public benefit. As examples: arts venues, museums, technology demonstration. Since the park is in the front yard of NCSU FDDP hopes that the university would choose to renovate and occupy some of the buildings for public outreach purposes.

In addition, when considering the preservation, it is important to recognize that the "National Historic Register" stated that the density of the buildings and sense of place, and the space between buildings was an important part of the historical context. A development with additional infill would not be appropriate, but replacing non-conforming buildings with conforming ones certainly would be appropriate.

4. ..memorial ... to Dorthea Dix...

HDDP suggests a museum and memorial, however I would hope it would be done with significant public input particularly from the mental health community.

5. ...connected ...with other ...communities...

That is an important part of the FDDP plan. Removing the fence and creating good pedestrian access to the adjacent neighborhoods as well as greenway connections in all directions. A bridge to Pullen Park with the cooperation of the adjacent Catholic Diocese property would be helpful. Transit connections through the park and into Centennial Campus and NCSU's main campus as well as the downtown core is also a possibility, and in the long term the rail line that runs through the campus could be incorporated.

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Dix Park or Dix Development

If the "sense" of the park flows through the Farmers' Market, then Dix Park will merge into Centennial Campus, Lake Raleigh and the new Walnut Creek Park adding much more green space to explore. It is this synergy between the 306 acre Dix Park, the University, and the City Park that extends the Dix property so it can become a World Class Destination Park gaining regional significance for the enjoyment of residents and visitors as well as an vital economic engine for the region and the state.

...

If we default to the ULI plan that restricts the park to 200 acres adjacent to a 250 acre development for 9,000 residents and 20,000 employees it will demote the park from a "World Class Destination Park" to a "Very Nice Community Park", which while fine for the people buying into the new neighborhood and working at the new offices, will do little to attract the amenities that make a park

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I am curious as to what would make Dix Park 306 a "World Class" destination park...How it would differentiate itself from Umstead and Pullen? Is "any" park at Dix considered to be separate or an extension of Pullen? I honestly thought Pullen was a destination park...

I am always open to views of others...I am still leaning towards the ULI proposal at this point though.

It would be a "World Class" destination park because:

1) 306 Acres is huge. Central Park is bigger, but other than that I don't know of too many city parks in the U.S. that can compare.

2) It is historically significant. Maybe it doesn't have a very glamorous history; most tourists probably wouldn't go there for it's history alone, but it does add to the overall value.

Frankly, I can see NO REASON to develop that land... unless you're a developer who wants to make a quick buck. This is a VERY BIG opportunity for Raleigh, though, and we need to THINK BIG. If we do the right thing with that land, our children and our grandchildren and other generations will be very grateful I'm sure.

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JH,

Thanks for presenting your ideas here on the forum. It was good to see you at Baja Burrito a couple of weeks ago. I bet you had long forgotten the old playground project from years ago. :)

2. ...~3k DHHS employees...

The FDDP (Friends) plan calls for all the DHHS employees to remain in the renovated buildings on the Dix Campus and to renovate additional buildings as needed for their offices, and then to remain in those offices for as long as they need them. FDDP expects they will migrate out to better facilities in 20 to 30 years. Their offices in the park will help with the development of the park as it is building out over many years.

I actually think there is tremendous merit for the FDDP 100% park idea, and I wouldn't mind seeing it happen, but I wonder what chance the FDDP plan has. The state is going to have to refurbish all the buildings themselves (cost $60M+), which they clearly don't want to do if they can get $40M from the city for the property and sign a long term lease under the Dix Development Corp to keep them there with the renovations being paid for by the lease. I like the 100% Dix Park idea, but it's hard to see it realistically being approved by the GA. The city needs to step up to the plate and do what is necessary to take over this property since it's in their interest to do so. I'm at the point now where I want to see something happen instead of lots of "plans" and too much talking, and so far the ULI Plan seems to be the most viable one out there. (Maybe I should investigate the FDDP plan more.)

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A major question remains for this whole project-do you really think the state is going to sell this property to Raleigh for $40 million? I have my doubts as the NC legislature will see this as Raleigh getting something that their districts won't have (although we could debate these areas getting new roads on Wake's dime).

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Pullen Park has served as a destination park for almost 120 years. Why should the city of Raleigh create another destination park across the street from the 14th oldest amusement park in the world at the expense of funding for other parks in the rest of the city?

A stretch of land from the Farmer's market, through the Dix propety to Pullen would a destination. A chunk of de-developed land (after the elimination of DHHS structures) would put too much space, making the park feel disjointed. The Dix Park proposal has the DHHS builidings removed by 2030, if not sooner. The state's costs go up by having to purchase land or rent office space for these displaced workers. The Dix park breakdown writes this off as a cost-free "migration". Birds migrate, but state employees don't. And the park proposal expects to keep receiving at least the current $300k/year budget for landscaping, etc. Will this money grow on those trees in the grove?

The ULI plan is going to create a "wall" at Lake Wheeler? I don't think so. The Dix Park plan creates a sea of nothing. The park plan suggests coffee shops will help fund it -- that's a lot of coffee! And who would open a coffee shop across the street from another coffee shop inside the park?

The state is getting $40 million in revenue *and* not have to pay for the millions of dollars required to rennovate the existing buildings, or buy land and construct new buildings elsewhere to place them.

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I am curious as to what would make Dix Park 306 a "World Class" destination park...How it would differentiate itself from Umstead and Pullen? Is "any" park at Dix considered to be separate or an extension of Pullen? I honestly thought Pullen was a destination park...

It takes about 100 years to develop a true "Destination Park". Location is probably the most important thing, and that is why Dix Park is so important because it is right down town only six blocks from the new convention center.

To become a "Destination Park" is to present opportunity to the community. Opportunity for the Smithsonian to provide material for a satellite museum on maybe Southern Folk History, or the Art Museum to place major sculptures on the property, or a collection in a building. Opportunity for NCSU to have outreach programs like their "American Homes", or to develop cultural performing venues with wider community participation. Opportunity to use the Great Field for great events. Opportunity for the Agricultural Department to showcase a demonstration project along side the retail Farmers' market. Opportunity...

This is why it needs to be preserved for a park. Not for us today, but in 20, 50, 100 years from now when Raleigh is 2, 5, 10 times bigger than it is now. Raleigh has doubled in size since 1980. (1980 pop. 150,255 2006 pop. 353,604) Right now a 100 acre addition to Pullen would be great, and would meet our needs for right now. Pullen park was founded in 1887 as the first public park in North Carolina. Stanhope Pullen had vision that is desperately needed by our political leaders today. It was 28 years before the first carousel was built and 63 years until the little train arrived. We haven't found a philanthropist with both the means and desire to create the Dorothea Dix park, so we, the people, must put pressure on our representatives to make it happen.

When Pullen was founded the City of Raleigh population was under 13,000. The ULI plan provides for up to 4,200 3,200 residential units. (corrected 12/6 by JH) That one development (not counting the offices) is the size Raleigh was when Pullen Park was created.

Raleigh has wonderful parks, and the citizens pass every park bond proposal. As the population grows more parks are needed, I think we all agree, and we can also agree that parks are needed near where the population is. This is an argument for more parks in the outskirts as the city grows, and the city is purchasing more land as it spreads out. But look at what is happening in downtown. There is nearly a billion dollars worth of development happening in the historic urban core right now. These new people will need new parkland and if we want a walkable city we need a park we can walk to -- from Fayetteville Street, from the new Convention Center and the new hotels being built around it, and from Glenwood South... you get the picture.

Let's not shortchange our future, let's preserve all of Dix as a park for the future of our city and our State.

Pullen History

Raleigh current demographics

Raleigh historic demographics

Development in downtown

Edited by JHuberman

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I am all for parks and greenways and all that fun stuff, but lets just be real here for a minute. The comparison to Central Park is absurd. Raleigh will probably never have as many people living in the entire city as there are living in walking distance from Central Park. Central Park should not even be used in the same sentence with Dorthea Dix campus because no matter how much preservation and park like ammenities are put there it will never be comparable to Central park. I do believe that most of the land should be set aside for a park. 200 acres is plenty of land to make an incredible urban park. With the connection to Pullen Park I dont see what the big deal is over it being 200 acres vs. 300+. It's not like someones going to walk into the park, look at it and say "Hmm, this park is only 200 acres and not worthy of my patronage because it isn't what I wanted it to be." People are going to complain and argue about whatever is done with that land. The ULI plan looks like a happy medium. Hell, the City of Raleigh's plan looked like a happy medium to me, but I guess I'm not the chest beating, I'm gonna get exactly what I want if I have to die trying type. There are much more important things to "battle" over nowadays. I'll just be happy when whatever is going to be done with it is finally done and over with.

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