The roster of leaders guiding the Dix Visionaries' effort to turn the Dorothea Dix property into a park includes one name that stands out: Pat McCrory.
The Republican governor-elect is listed among 80 members of the Dix Visionaries Business Advisory Council. But now McCrory is seeking to block an effort by the Dix Visionaries and Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue to approve a plan in December to lease the property to the city for a park.
A spokesman for McCrory's transition team said Wednesday that McCrory has never been involved with Dix Visionaries. But the group disagrees.
On the website, McCrory's title is given as "Mayor of Charlotte," indicating that the inclusion dates back to his time as Charlotte's top elected official (1995 to 2009). The Visionaries group, headed by Raleigh businessman Gregory Poole, has worked in an advocacy role for seven years to turn the sprawling Dix Hospital campus into a signature park akin to Raleigh's version of Central Park.
Over the years, Poole has recruited leading citizens from all over the state to join the cause, including mayors from N.C. cities large and small.
"Pat McCrory expressed his support for the park to Gregory Poole personally while he was mayor of Charlotte," said Chris Shigas, a spokesman for the group. The N&O asked Dix Visionaries to provide documentation to show that McCrory was part of the group but none was immediately provided.
Since his election as governor, McCrory has not taken a position on the merits of the park concept. Instead, he has called for a delay to allow more time for review. A spokesman did not answer questions about whether McCrory would ask for his name to be taken off the website.
--Matt Garfield and John Frank, staff writers