Dix should be park

While hospital land should be preserved, mental health fund also needed.

By Assad Meymandi

[03.02.04] — To contemplate the future of Dorothea Dix Hospital in Raleigh, we need to think of the land as a sacred piece of property, we need to put on our spiritual robe, drink from the chalice of altruism and not to get caught up price, entrepreneurship and dollars.

My thoughts and suggestions center on the notion that cities, like people, have souls.

Cities can be altruistic, gentle, wise, giving and nurturing to their citizens, or they can be narcissistic, governed by greed, dollars, bottom line, expanding tax base and hegemonial avarice.

I respect the opinion of the group of advocates of mentally ill, lamenting that the state of North Carolina did not wait until 2007, the original date of closure of Dix.

This group of conscientious citizens suggests the Wake County commissioners and the Wake Human Services board consider spending some of the proceeds from the sale of 335 acres of the land in patient care, a very credible and practical thought.

After all, the proposal carries the approval of Secretary of Health and Human Services Carmen Hooker and Gov. Mike Easley.

However, I believe that we ought to turn the land into a public park, like New York’s Central Park, Boston’s Commons and San Francisco’s de Young Bay Area Park complex.

By creating a large public park, we will prove Raleigh is altruistic, has a soul and pays attention to the spiritual and artistic values of the city.

Do not let developers take over Dix land and mar the beautiful face of what could be an inspiring landscaped public park.

A public park on the beautiful site of Dix Hospital will certainly elevate the majesty of the city of Raleigh’s soul.

We can find the sources of funding the programs for mentally ill.

I challenge the state and city governments to set a “Mental Health Fund or Foundation” for voluntary contributions by citizens.

I am sure that public voluntary contributions by ordinary citizens, industries and drug companies will eventually equal the sale price of the Dix land site.

I will be happy to make the first contribution to the designated fund.

Assad Meymandi is a Raleigh psychiatrist and arts advocate.

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