RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Dorothea Dix Park is quickly becoming North Carolina's go-to park for big time signature events.
The space traces its roots back to hunting grounds for Indigenous people, a plantation worked by enslaved people and the site of North Carolina's first mental health facility.
"The chance to build an urban park of this size in a growing community is really unique; an unparalleled opportunity," Dix Park Planning Supervisor Kate Pearce said. "Completely intimidating also exciting and rewarding."
Pearce was at the table when city leaders chose Dix Park as the site for the 2022 Independence Day fireworks show.
"It is amazing we have 35 acres of open space field to have a festival grounds in Raleigh--to be a place that on regular weekend people are enjoying picnics with their friends and family--and then it's transformed into a destination like Dreamville or like the 4th of July," Pearce said.
The park is owned by the city and operated through a public-private partnership including the Dix Park Conservancy. Together both groups have huge, lofty plans for the future of the space.
The park's website explains those future plans in the following way:
"If we rise to this opportunity, Dorothea Dix Park will have a unique ability to bring us together. By honoring the park's history we can build together a unique place of belonging for all individuals and families, for all communities, economic levels, backgrounds, and interests."
For now, the park appears well on its way to achieving those goals. But organizers and advocates say this is just the beginning.
"When you think of Raleigh, you think of the iconic skyline. And from here moving forward, you're going to think of Fourth of July at Dix Park," Pearce said.