Dorothea Dix Park


I was called out as a developer in response to my comment on the Draft Master Plan because I support keeping the option of creative public-private partnerships to potentially fund the park. :woman_facepalming:

Please leave your feedback! There are a few people with a lot of time on their hands who are really trying to railroad the master plan as long as it contains references to value capture, land leases, or other potential development as possible (not required!) funding sources in the future.


I’m just going to leave this here…

@dtraleigh thank you for your thoughtful comment on the forum! I know you’re involved behind the scenes, but great to have your visible comment for all to read.


Thanks for contributing here and spreading the word.


There are two Dix Master Plan Vision Tours coming up. You can register here:

Tour dates are Sunday 1/27 at 1pm and Saturday 2/2 at 9am. The tours are free but you need to register. The tour is a 2.5 hour, 3.2 mile walking tour. I plan to go on one not sure which day.

Final Community Meeting to present the master plan is 2/6 from 6pm to 9pm at the Convention Center Ballroom B. RSVP is requested.


I was discussing Dix last night and someone brought up the Gathering Place in Tulsa (also designed by MVVA; phase I recently completed). The big difference between the Gathering Place coming to fruition and Dix: it was the vision of a private philanthropist and is a public park built mostly with private funds. The foundation also set up a $100m endowment for future operation and maintenance of the park. However, they went through what sounds like the same planning process that we’re seeing with Dix.

12 words changed Tulsa forever: How the Gathering Place came to be

There are even two restaurants in phase I, one of which is described as “a destination-restaurant…for elegant evening dining.”


A restaurant in the park ! (clutches pearls and faints on conveniently placed fainting couch)


The are so many great places around the world where someone has turned an old, run down factory/dock/warehouse into an amazing venue for arts, music and culture. Usually the areas around these have been reactivated as parks, gathering places, gardens and so on. And, yes, there will often be some kind of commercial element tied to the endeavor but they usually fall into the background as the main attraction is the creativity on display.

The old structures in Dix are just begging for this treatment. Give our creative people a place to shine and show off what’s great about NC. Give people a place to gather on weekends, on vacation, on business lunches. Give a few, well-vetted businesses an opportunity to drive revenue for the park so it can stay open.


@Deb thanks for sharing that link. Taking a closer look at the Gathering Place offers a useful sense of the scale of project we’re looking at with Dix. Seems like a lot of people (not on this forum) don’t quite grasp this.

Tulsa is roughly the same size as Raleigh 400k to our 460k people. The Gathering Place will be about 1/3rd the size of Dix once it’s fully open. Phase 1 is something like 66 acres (opened in September 2018). Its size will grow to 100 acres once Phase II is complete.

GP has a staff of about 150 and a leadership team of 12 shown on their website. For my money GP has a bit more of a theme-park feel than what the Dix master plan envisions, which may mean GP is a more staff-intensive park, but I have to think Dix will require a staff of about that size.

How much do people think it would cost to pay a staff of 150+ people a year? Even if the staff only averaged $20k/year (obscenely low) that’s $3 million a year not including any benefits.

It “only” took seven years for GP to go from concept to opening of Phase 1. That seems very quick to me given the size of the park, but it’s still seven years - the better part of a decade. And it has a land bridge over a highway. I’ll be shocked if we see a Phase I of Dix open seven years from now.

The timeline for GP likely wouldn’t have been possible without the 80+ private and corporate donations. Looks like most every feature of GP is named for its donor. We’ve heard all the complaints about the idea of a hotel in the park. How are people going to react to the “Advance Auto Meadow” at Dix Park?


These points are super important, and I think many people aren’t able to fully grasp the scope of the Dix project.

I agree that GP will be likely be far more “developed” in the sense of man made recreation than Dix will be, potentially adding costs per acre to some extent. And they actually have not one but two land bridges!

I have family in Tulsa and have been to the riverfront before construction began on GP. The culture there is…different than here. Prior to this, there was minimal activation of this huge natural asset (a river!) beyond a fitness trail and a few playgrounds. Instead, there were a lot of industrial uses along the riverfront which can still be seen in some of the shots on the GP home page video.

I’m wondering what fundraising efforts the Dix Park Conservancy is pursuing? Perhaps if they explain that a little better, everyone might have a more realistic picture of funding options or be able identify opportunities instead of getting their panties in a wad.


I’m wondering the same about fundraising efforts underway. Gregory Poole Jr.'s obituary requests memorial gifts be made to Dorothea Dix Park - among others.

Waste Industries (Lonnie Poole, not related to Greg Jr.) was sold last year I believe, so maybe Lonnie Poole is looking to make another major donation? In addition to the Golf Course and college of management at NCSU he’s also donated to the Summit Boy Scout camp in WV.

And of course there’s the Goodnight family.

I’m guessing there might be greater wealth in and around Tulsa (oil industry) than what we have in Raleigh? I don’t know.


You know, I haven’t given it a lot of thought, but “How to pay for DIX?” is and should be of the utmost importance…

And don’t forget, although DIX is located in Raleigh, it is or will be a park for ALL of the people of NC…:thinking:


Dix is going to end up being the greatest real estate investment Raleigh has ever made. It’s made the surrounding land much more attractive to developers, which in turn is already sparking new construction near the park (and this is no doubt only the razor edge of what’s coming), which in turn sends the property values of that land as sky-high as the new buildings that will sit on them. The extra money that the city will collect every year in property taxes from that vastly more valuable land will likely pay for the park and the improvements on it several times over.

I think we’re good here.


That’s if the city chooses to use that money for the park. There’s no saying they have too. What if we get a city council full of people that think the park’s funding should be cut? Leaving the park’s future in the hands solely of the city council is a frightening thought to me.


Agreed! But I interpreted DRG’s comment as expressing basically the opposite concern, that there wouldn’t be enough revenue out there to properly fund a world-class park.

Anyway, my biggest goal for 2019 to elect a forward-thinking city council that will, among other things, ensure we create the very best Dix Park we can. Anyone running for city council ought to be pressed hard to articulate their vision for this park, and hopefully the voters will make their choices accordingly.


Heard a rumor that more of the chain link fence along Lake Wheeler has been taken down. Can anyone confirm?


Also the DIX Master Plan was unanimously approved by the planning commission last night.
Next it goes before City Council.


Thank you for the picture. I looks as if they are replacing the old one (close to the road) with the new one (further back from the road)???


No, the one further from the road has also been there, and is used to enclose the baseball field.


Thank you!
Since a fence can’t keep a baseball in (not tall enough) and no one is going to steal a base, I wonder if they will also take that fence down?


I doubt it. The fence can keep a dog in and people use that space currently as a place to let their dogs run around a little bit, although some people let their dogs run loose all over the park because they’re [redacted].