The largest park project in the United States is underway at Dorothea Dix Park in Raleigh, North Carolina. The city purchased the Dorothea Dix Campus from the state of North Carolina in 2015 with the aim of creating a great destination park in the heart of the city. This year, the Raleigh City Council adopted the Dorothea Dix Park Master Plan, and implementation plans are now underway. Designed to span decades, the 300-acre park will include the site of North Carolina's first mental hospital.
Dorothea Dix Park Development is the country's largest park project and is today recognized by the former director of the NYC Parks System as "the most exciting and important urban park project in America." In 2016, Raleigh City, in partnership with the Dorothea Dix Park Conservancy, began the process of master planning to create a new park. Over the past year and a half, the city, along with a consultant team led by Michael Van Valkenburg Associates, has undertaken a public engagement process in which 70,000 community members participated, sharing their thoughts for Dorothea Dick Park's future.
This redevelopment will transform the former psychiatric hospital building into a boutique hotel to help offset the cost of the park. At the same time, the project aims to provide an art space, a community incubator, a sports court and botanic gardens. The design will also rebuild the old rail line on the property to link different sections of the park. Dorothea Dick Park currently serves as a community venue, conducting moonlight movie screenings, community yoga and music festivals. On July 13, Dorothea will be the site of the Dick Park Destination Sun Fest where the public will be invited to celebrate five acres of sunflower blooms set against the backdrop of downtown Raleigh.