Raleigh City Council unanimously approves Dorothea Dix Park master plan

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Raleigh City Council unanimously adopted the Dorothea Dix Park Master Plan Tuesday, therefore directing the city staff to develop an implementation plan for Phase 1.

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The first draft of the plan was released in January, following 18 months of input from the community.

"We have had 45,000 pieces of input from people. It's incredible how much the community is really engaged in that. Our goal was to build a park for everybody, which is a hard thing to do," Mayor Nancy McFarlane said at the time. "It's been heartwarming, but it's also been thrilling to see this many people across the city engage, across the county engage in what they want to see and their dreams and hopes. We hope this master plan reflects that."


"Over the next couple of years, you'll see small incremental improvements," said Dorothea Dix Park Planning Supervisor Kate Pearce. "Everything from picnic areas to little things like more trash cans that make a park a better place to visit. And then you'll start to see bigger things happen so we'll go into early design and construction and hopefully start doing some of the major work in as short as two years."

"We're uniting well over 500 acres of parkland in the city," said designer Michael Van Valkenburgh. "That's not even counting all your wonderful neighborhood parks. This is kind of an amazing thing that a city the size of Raleigh has a kind of unified system of parks that you can get on a bike and go to all of them."

Dix Park is made up of a whopping 308 acres.

The master plan will transform the former mental health hospital campus into an urban park. It focuses on the creation of six landscapes: the Creek, the Grove, the Meadow, the Gateway, the Ridge, and the Valley.
The six landscapes are defined and built from past and existing features of the land.

The Department of Health and Human Services still has administrative headquarters on the grounds until 2025, but the project manager said they are actively looking for new space. Those buildings will be demolished and turned into space for park support.

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