Raleigh's plan for Dix Park, affordable housing community to take a huge hit as Wake County preps stay-at-home order

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ByJoel Brown via WTVD logo
Thursday, March 26, 2020
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While it is Wake Co. commissioners making the move toward issuing a stay-at-home order, Mary-Ann Baldwin has been dialed in to every meeting on the plan and says she's all for it.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- While it is Wake County commissioners making the move toward issuing a stay-at-home order, as mayor of the county's largest city, Mary-Ann Baldwin has been dialed-in to every meeting on the plan and said she's all for it.

Raleigh's mayor also shared bleak news about the impact COVID-19 is going to have on the city's economy. The pandemic is a budget buster.


"As of tomorrow, we will be shutting down municipal buildings," Baldwin said from outside her downtown Raleigh condo where she's been running the city from home for over a week.

Baldwin says after seeing the data from Wake health officials on how quickly COVID-19 could spread here, if no order is issued, she quickly got on board with the stay-at-home order expected to be issued Thursday.

"(County health officials) have given us incredible and alarming information about where we are as a community and what we could be facing. And when you look at what the projections could be, it's frightening," she said. "So that took me from, hey we gotta be careful to now it's urgent."

Mayor Baldwin's plans for her first term in office have been now flipped upside down since she took her oath in December when she was full-steam ahead on plans for a city-wide bond referendum to fund phase one of the Dix Park build-out, plus a bond to improve all city parks and another for housing affordability. She called it Raleigh's "moonshot".

Wednesday night, faced with a new reality of a crippling health crisis and a potential recession, Mayor Baldwin said, "Our moonshot right now is going to be getting out of this."

She said the health crisis and the dramatic loss of tax revenues it has caused mean the Dix Park bond and the bond for city parks are likely on hold for now. And a decision on whether to spend hotel and beverage tax money to help build a new pro soccer stadium south of downtown are now all but guaranteed not to happen this year.

"We still are going to move forward on a housing bond, a housing affordability bond," she said. "We think we can. We think the public will support it. Because we're gonna have a greater need than ever before."

A city shutdown, a stay-at-home order expected soon, and the mayor is planning for a recession when it finally opens up again.

"We have a playbook for hurricanes and ice storms and snowstorms and floods -- but we don't have a playbook for a pandemic. And we're all just doing the best we can," Baldwin said.