Governor signs Dorothea Dix lease

Dorothea Dix campus (foreground) from the air.
December 28, 2012 11:33:02 AM PST
Gov. Bev Perdue signed documents Friday leasing the state-owned Dorothea Dix Hospital campus to the City of Raleigh.

The 75-year lease agreement follows a Dec. 4, approval by the City Council that allows the City to convert the land on the 325-acre site into an urban park following development of a master planning process that will include citizen participation.

"Discussion and deliberation about the Dix property has taken place for years. It's great that we can now continue moving forward," said Gov. Bev Perdue. "The plan is the most appropriate way of preserving this open space as a park, while at the same time providing revenue to the state."

The deal comes over the objections of some key Republicans - including the two Republicans on the 10-member Council of State - Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry and Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler - had voted no, while State Auditor Beth Wood abstained.

Under terms of the agreement, Raleigh will pay $500,000 a year to lease the property, plus a 1.5 percent annual increase compounded over the length of the agreement, adding up to $68 million. City leaders would then have the option to renew the 75 year lease for another 24 years.

Other Republicans, including Senate President Phil Berger, have called the plan a "raw deal for N.C. taxpayers."

Republican Governor-elect Pat McCrory had asked the Democratic-controlled Council of State to delay the decision until his administration takes power in January.

But Raleigh leaders said they're pleased with the deal offered by Perdue.

"I am very happy the City of Raleigh and the State can partner in this way to provide such a great opportunity for our citizens." said Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane. "The Dix property as a destination park is a wonderful addition to our city and state's quality of life amenities."

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