City council approves financing option for Dorothea Dix land

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Raleigh City Council tackled several hot topics during Tuesday night's meeting.

There were residents from every corner of the city in attendance sounding off on different hot topics, but the biggest issue on the agenda was Dorothea Dix Park.

There were plenty in the audience in support of turning Dorothea Dix into Raleigh's 308-acre destination park but the majority of those who went to the podium spoke out against the deal.

Angry city taxpayers are not being allowed to vote on the city's proposal to borrow $52 million from a private bank for the property.

"If you're going to borrow money to pay for this, then I think you ought to put it to a vote of the people and let us have a say in it," said Ed Jones with the Wake County Taxpayers Association.

"There's already a bond coming for transportation, a bond coming for education. It's too much," said Raleigh resident Jane Norwood.

Supporters on the city council argued the decision to bypass a voter referendum on the issue would save taxpayers $9 to $12 million. In the end, the measure passed.

The city manager will now go in search of the best loan terms from banks.

Parking Proposal

There was also a public hearing Tuesday evening on the city's proposal to ditch free parking on nights and weekends in downtown parking garages. The change would mean a $5 flat fee to beef up the cleaning budget on increasingly dirty facilities.

Cyrus Atkins told city council members the move would hurt Raleigh's art scene because many artists and musicians also double as restaurant workers.

"You get rid of that and end up having to pay 25 bucks a week, five nights a week and that's $100 a month," said Atkins. "If you're getting paid $10 an hour, you really can't afford that."

There's been no decision yet on the parking fees. It's part of the proposed budget, which will be adopted later this month.

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