Hundreds flock to suggest ideas for Raleigh's Dix Park

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Hundreds came out in Raleigh to pitch their suggestions for Dix Park.

Hundreds turned out to Fletcher Opera Theater on Thursday night for the latest round of brainstorming about what could become "Raleigh's Central Park."

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Dix Park, the sprawling 306-acre piece of land just south of downtown, will eventually be transformed into what leaders are calling a destination park.



And so Raleighites posted their ideas for Dix on dry-erase boards in the opera house lobby or personally spoke to project planners about what they want to see included.

"There are tons of ideas floating around," said Kate Peace, a project director for the City of Raleigh. "And my job is to listen to all of those and help the design team interpret that and put it in the future of the park."

Mark Stohlman and his teammates from the Triangle Cricket League were here lobbying planners to include cricket fields in the park's master plan.

"We need cricket grounds. Right now, we're playing in Morrisville, Durham, all the way in Harnett County to play," said Stohlman about the sport that he says includes 1,500 local players. "We'd love to take this game and play it in the city of Raleigh."

Art Whiting came hoping to hear some less strenuous ideas for the future park's use.

"We were joking that (we want) things that are going to be right for people my age when it's done - senior activities. Because that's what we're going to be (when the park is completed)," he said.

It will take years for these ideas to bear fruit - but the planning is well underway.

And not just here at these public forums, but online too.

Thousands have been weighing in on the online platform Neighborland - it's like Facebook for place-making.

"It's where any community member can go in and add an idea," Pearce said.



Some of the Dix Park ideas trending on Neighborland right now include multimodal transportation connections like bike paths, walking paths and public transit to and through the park.

And 153 neighbors on the site want to include an African-American culture museum.

Excitement seems to be growing with every new idea.

"It's one of the largest urban park projects in America right now. And it's happening in Raleigh."
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