Hampton Dellinger's statement on preserving the Dix property

Lieutenant Governor candidate Hampton Dellinger posing at the Dorothea Dix property. As always, we are willing to post the pro-environmental stances of any candidate for statewide office.

Dorothea Dix devoted her life to caring for those who could not fully care for themselves, and to building a community that was willing and able to follow her example. By protecting and wisely developing the land surrounding Dorothea Dix Hospital in Raleigh, we can honor both pillars of her life’s work, revitalizing our mental health system and furnishing for this generation, and the ones to come, an incredible gathering place.

These 306 acres are truly unique. Few cities, and no growing state capitals, can claim the kind of natural beauty that these rolling hills, lush meadows, and ancient oaks give us. Anyone who has paused for a moment among the trees that give the City of Oaks its nickname cannot help but appreciate this rare urban oasis.

In a magnet city like Raleigh, large public spaces like this one are all but impossible to create. Fortunately, the Dix campus has been publicly owned for more than a century and a half already, so unlike most major projects this one can be achieved simply by working out an agreement between the state, which now owns it, and the city, which seeks to become its new custodian. This kind of opportunity comes along once in a city’s lifetime, and I hope that Raleigh and state officials will quickly reach an agreement that serves the needs of all interested parties, including the city, the state, and the mental health community.

We North Carolinians know that the best traditions of the past always go hand-in-hand with building a better future. The Dix 306 is no exception. Already, the City of Raleigh and groups like Dix Visionaries and the Friends of Dorothea Dix Park have proposed plans that would use a mix of public and private financing to preserve the historical heritage of the Dix 306 while encouraging economic growth in surrounding neighborhoods. Whatever the ultimate details of the adopted plan, the important thing now is to commit ourselves to protecting the land and listening to the voices of all interested parties, including nearby property owners, private developers, state agencies, and the mental health advocates. Like all great urban green spaces, the Dix 306 could become an “active oasis” that encourages surrounding targeted and sustainable growth, while providing a scenic connection between downtown Raleigh and the North Carolina State campus.

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