Dorthea Dix hospital is a historic mental health facility serving the state from Raleigh for many years. Recently the state has decided to move some functions of Dix to a new mental health hospital in Butner. Other services are being shifted to outpatient services in the community.

This potentially may free up 315 acres of prime real estate, much of it overlooking Downtown Raleigh from a rolling hill. Now it will need to be determined what to do with the land. The state is open to freeing the land for development changes, although many Dept. of Health and Human Services employees would need to be accomodated or relocated elsewhere.

Its unclear who will drive the decisions on what to do with the space. A group called the Friends of Dorthea Dix Park has organized to represent a coalition of community interest groups. The state, city and perhaps county will be key to the process. How and when decisions will be made remains unclear.

Some components of the campus future appear clear although the proportions of acreage dedicated will need to get worked out. Likely uses will include: 100+ acres of parkland, some new development of offices and/or condominiums, retention of the cemetary, and playing fields for recreation. More debated components include: some offices for health workers, a museum about mental health, a botanical and/or community garden, and pedestrian connections to Pullen Park and Downtown.

Revitalization of the area will help the economic turnaround of the south side of downtown and Boylan Heights. There are many concerns about whether mental health services will be negatively impacted.