Council: Mental Health Advocates Want Say in Dix Park

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Advocates of Raleigh’s mental health community are calling on the city to include them in Dix Park discussions.

Several advocates, many part of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), spoke out Tuesday during the public comment portion of the City Council’s regular meeting and asked that the park continue to serve those in the area with mental illness.

“Please include the mentally ill in your plans for Dix Hill,” said Ellen Betts Clemmer, a former social worker who worked at the now-closed hospital for the mentally ill. She asked that the city consider a place for outpatient services, a clubhouse where patients can interact, and affordable housing.

In 2010, the North Carolina General Assembly voted to close Dorothea Dix Hospital, saying that its aging buildings were no longer suitable for patients. The hospital officially closed its doors in 2012.

The city itself doesn’t offer any mental health services, which are left up to the state and Wake County to administer.

“I appreciate and I honor your advocacy for the fragile in our community,” Mayor Nancy McFarlane said after the advocates spoke.

McFarlane said negotiations between the state and the city for a new lease are still ongoing and no plans for the 325-acre property have been solidified.

If a lease can be agreed upon, the property would go into the city’s park master planning process, which includes multiple opportunities for public input.

Loading Zones for Bands?
McFarlane is back from the South by Southwest Interactive festival and has a suggestion that is likely to make Raleigh’s local bands happy.

“In Austin, and Seattle has it too, they have 30-minute musician priority loading zones,” she said.

McFarlane said she’d like the city to consider including these types of zones so that bands can more easily load and unload their equipment when performing downtown.

District A Town Hall Meetings
District A representative Wayne Maiorano said he plans on holding a series of town meetings for residents in his district.

Maiorano said he will hold three town meetings during the next several months to discuss issues facing District A. Maiorano did not specify when these meetings would begin.

District C councilor Eugene Weeks said he had also been thinking about starting town hall meetings in his district.

Road Races Approved
Only two road races were on the agenda this week. Both were approved.

Race: Dillard Drive Tech Trek
Location: Dillard Drive
Length: 5K
Date and Time: 9 a.m. Saturday, May 3
Attendees: About 400

Race: Color Me Rad
Location: Walnut Creek Ampitheatre
Length: 5K
Date and Time: 7:30 a.m. Saturday, April 5
Attendees: About 5,500

One thought on “Council: Mental Health Advocates Want Say in Dix Park

  1. Holding meetings at a place and time of your choosing does not release you from your obligation to attend CAC meetings in your district. Being a district councilor is very time consuming–if you’re not willing to invest the time, you shouldn’t be on Council.