Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane told members of Wake County’s legislative delegation Monday that it would be wrong for the General Assembly to renege on its deal allowing the city to turn more than 300 acres of the Dorothea Dix campus into a destination park.
“If the citizens of North Carolina can’t trust their elected officials to keep their word, it’s a sad day for our state,” said McFarlane. “Your honor is on the line.”
Senate Bill 334, which won approval in the Senate last month, would scrap the lease inked in December by Mayor McFarlane and then Governor Bev Perdue, and renegotiate the property at a fair-market price with the proceeds designated for mental health programs.
Others who spoke at Monday’s delegation meeting urged lawmakers to find more money for mental health services.
Under the current lease with the city, Raleigh would pay the state $500,000 a year for the land, which McFarlane notes could be used to improve mental health care.
The House Judiciary Committee will have the next say on SB 334 and whether the state will honor the deal.