Republicans in the North Carolina General Assembly just can’t stop meddling in the affairs of local governments.
On Thursday, three Senators from rural counties introduced a bill to “ensure the fair sale” of Dix Park, the 300 acre property in southeast Raleigh slated to become a destination park after Gov. McCrory and mayor Nancy McFarlane reached a $52 million sales agreement this year.
The bill would open up the property to bids from private entities, starting at $52 million.
“I am stunned that the Senate Republicans are seeking to blow up the deal the state and the City of Raleigh reached to make the Dorothea Dix complex a destination park for all the people of North Carolina,” wrote Sen. Josh Stein, a Raleigh Democrat, on his Facebook page. “This is a transfer of a public asset from one public entity to another for a public purpose.”
“The Legislature’s disdain for Wake County and the state’s metro areas is as palpable as it is petty and shortsighted,” Stein continued. “How is rural North Carolina helped by depressing the economic vitality of the state’s metro areas? Of course, it’s just the opposite.”
The News and Observer notes that the bill’s sponsors, Sens. Ralph Hise, Louis Pate and Tommy Tucker, were behind a similar bill in 2013 which revoked Raleigh’s original lease on the property. Tucker told reporters that he thought the property was worth more than the $52 million state was offered for the land. He said the state needs money from the sale to build new headquarters for the Department of Health and Human Services which currently occupies the Dix property.
It’s unclear what legal authority, if any, the Legislature has to interfere with the existing sales agreement.