News and Observer
by Colin Campbell
– Supporters of the Dorothea Dix park plans turned out in droves Monday afternoon to oppose Republican legislators’ efforts to revoke the city’s lease on the prime real estate near downtown…
… But park advocate Sig Hutchinson said the need for better mental health care is a separate issue. “The new concern about mental health is just a smoke screen,” Hutchinson said. “If you really care about mental health, fund it properly, including funds from this lease.”
Others argued that it’s too late to change the lease and the state must keep its word. “As a businessman who is bound by his word, it is appalling … is this the image you want of our state?” said O. Temple Sloan, chairman of General Parts International and chairman of the board at Highwoods Properties.. “I urge you to drop this attempt to void this agreement.”
Sloan and Hutchinson had plenty of company. When one speaker asked supporters of the Dix park plan to stand, only a handful of people remained seated. “This is not a Republican vs. Democrat issue,” said Greg Poole, leader of the Dix Visionaries group.
And while the bill keeps the park possibility alive, it would allow only about 200 of the 325 acres – much of it in a flood plain – to be leased by the city.