At least that’s what my mother called the Dorthea Dix mental hospital when I was growing up in Raleigh. On more than a few occasions she threatened to send me there.

Commissioner of Agriculture and Guilford County resident Steve Troxler was (along with Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry) one of two Council of State no votes against leasing the Dix property to the City of Raleigh for a park. Sen. Phil Berger says he will “begin evaluating legal options to terminate this ill-conceived lease and reclaim this land on behalf of its real owners: the people of North Carolina.”

The N&R’s Doug Clark says Berger’s complaints come too late:

Easy, there. The state will get up to $68 million over 75 years. The recipients are not “a chosen few,” but the public. The city of Raleigh will manage the park, but it will still belong to the state and be open to all. If that would be the object of legal action, well, it’s unnecessary. The people of North Carolina will have greater access to the property under Raleigh’s management than they ever had when it formed the grounds of a mental hospital.

Berger may be upset that he dropped the ball when he had a chance to prevent today’s action. A bill to require legislative approval for “any conveyance” of Dix property passed the House 115-0 but sat in a Senate committee.

This looks like a good use for the land. If anyone had a better idea, there was plenty of time to express it.

But based on land’s appraised value, the state could have gotten at least &86 million in one shot plus future property tax revenue. But the real joke is Gov. Perdue’s statement that she would like the money from the lease to go toward mental health services. Attorney General Roy Cooper –who voted for the lease —was quick to note the money “would not even begin to dent” the problems North Carolina faces in mental health treatment.