Here is my email and the attached letter sent to Mayor Nancy McFarlane, members of the Raleigh City Council, and members of the city staff and the state's DOA staff today.
To: Members of the Raleigh City Council and staff of the City of Raleigh, Gail Smith, City Clerk's office,
Ruffin Hall, City Manager
Please see my original request to speak at the meeting on Tuesday of the Raleigh City Council sent by email on Monday. I am attaching a letter which provides a detailed explanation of why I had planned to speak.
The City Council's Agenda as posted on the City of Raleigh web site does not accurately reflect my request. I had planned to focus on the lack of transparency in the planning process and to ask when or if the City would hold hearings on the question of the future of the Dix Hospital Campus property.
Please read my letter in the attached file and respond by email or by phone. I feel that I and my fellow mental health clients in NC deserve at least that much, as we have had to only sit idly by while a valuable and historic property that has meant so much in the history of our state is treated like a private property to be traded behind closed doors.
Here is the letter in the attached file sent with the above email message:
Letter regarding Dix Hospital Campus Property
To: Mayor McFarlane and City Council Members, City of Raleigh, NC
CC: Gail Smith, Clerk, City of Raleigh, NC
Ruffin Hall, City Manager, City of Raleigh, NC
Stephen Bentley, City of Raleigh, NC
Michael Williams, City of Raleigh, NC
Dept. of Administration, State of North Carolina
From: Martha C. Brock
Date: March 14, 2014
I sent an email on Monday to the Assistant Deputy Clerk for the City of Raleigh requesting to be on the agenda for the Tuesday, March 18, 2014, meeting of the City of Raleigh. My email was brief and explicit; I asked to address three issues, the third being the most important. The third issue deals with transparency in government and allowing for public involvement and input in policy making.
The agenda now posted on the City’s web site does not accurately reflect my “petition and request” as sent to the clerk’s office. To be sure you get my input without further filtering; I am sending this letter in lieu of speaking on Tuesday.
The transparency issue, the lack of involvement of the public--outside of park boosters (mainly those in the so-called “Dix Visionaries”)--in planning for the use of the Dix Hospital Campus for future decades really bothers me. I literally scoured the City of Raleigh website for any mention of public hearings, committee reports, or other items specific to public involvement in the process. I found one line out of thousands in the report from January 2014, “Your Parks, Your Future,” which mentioned the Dix property and its use as a “destination park.”
I see that there will be public meetings on that report, but I don’t believe folks outside of Raleigh will be invited or have their input considered at those meetings. I contacted a member of the city’s Parks Committee, who told me that committee has not discussed Dix at any time.
The reality of all this is that while the Mayor of Raleigh has been on TV speaking on behalf of the private group, and the Dix Visionaries claim they are asking for input, the decision-making is being left to a private organization with no real authority and no requirements for following normal government processes.
I would like to know if and when the City of Raleigh and/or the State of North Carolina plan to ask for any opinions other than what was provided in a limited way to the Wake Legislative Delegation one year ago at the NC General Assembly
I would welcome any opportunity to meet with City Councilors, City Council Staff, and NC Dept. of Administration staff before a unique and historic campus with special meaning for many of us across the state of North Carolina is either totally destroyed or rendered of little to no value to those with mental illness and their families and friends. Once the historic buildings like the Dix Chapel and the McBride Building, which is on the Historic Registry, are gone, there is no going back and replacing them.
Furthermore, there is an historic cemetery with over 1000 grave sites on the site of the Dix property. What plans do the City and the State have for preserving that area of the campus? I have seen no one address that issue, except a quick mention in the appraisal(s) of the property, which consider the cemetery as a possible impediment to development.
Both the state and local government have assumed that the Dix Visionaries represent all citizens of not only the City of Raleigh, but the state. They do not. Public Policy Polling polled Raleigh citizens, and only a slight majority of those polled approved of the plans for a “destination park.”
I consider the lack of openness and inclusion of the public in the Dix Campus planning process by the City and the State shameful. I would like a direct response to my questions.
Martha C. Brock