Hoping to start a conversation surrounding Dix park planning. The master plan is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year, with some improvements and programming already taking place, like J.Cole’s Dreamville Festival in September. Although not in many folks’ official downtown boundary, Dix is considered an urban park project, and I believe I’ve heard it’s the largest urban park project in the country at the moment. With all the proposed growth in the South street/West street area like the 87 unit condo building across from Boulted Bread, coupled with the recommended area of new development opportunity within the park along Lake Wheeler rd, I see downtown extending to the southwest already.
Following the last workgroup meeting and public presentation, it’s clear that about half of the 80+ buildings on Dix campus have been recommended to be renovated and repurposed for commercial use. The viable existing buildings, especially those surrounding the original hospital, have been recommended to be transformed into museums, hotels, restaurants, conservatories, breweries, concert halls, food halls, sports facilities, and other uses to create a dense, walkable area of commerce. Dix park will become a destination for much more than leisure and nature bathing; a center of gravity that will draw downtown toward it.
One of the first constraints the design team discussed was access. The campus was designed to keep people out, and Western boulevard is perhaps the single largest obstacle to overcome. The master plan will undoubtedly account for this, and I think many of you who lament Western/MLK’s presence just south of DTR will be happy with the recommended changes that will come out of the Dix plan. Land bridges, pedestrian bridges, gondolas, oh my!
Obviously I’m a fervent supporter of the park and stand to personally benefit from it’s development, as I live down Lake Wheeler rd. I love hearing new ideas for it, so if you have any please post them here. And check out the latest public presentation from the design team:
View from top of Dix hospital: