Nov 8, 2023 - News

Local Limelight: Janet Cowell of Dix Park Conservancy

Photo illustration of Janet Cowell in a polaroid frame.

Photo illustration: Axios. Photo: Courtesy of Dix Park Conservancy

Raleigh has a lot of high hopes for the future of Dix Park, and Janet Cowell's task is to make those goals a reality.

  • As the CEO of the Dix Park Conservancy, she helps plan the park's future.

Axios spoke with Cowell — who also served as state treasurer from 2009-2017 — for our Local Limelight series. Answers have been edited for Smart Brevity.

☕ Favorite place to drink: I am a Cup a Joe person. I know everyone there. It's a great community.

📐 What the Triangle is missing: I think we can do a better job connecting all of the cities of the Triangle. There have been so many efforts to collaborate but I think there's been less efforts to package all of that.

  • For example, I think there's so many amazing parks now — Dix Park, Downtown Cary Park, Pleasant Park in Apex and Umstead Park — but connecting all these dots together, I just feel like nobody packages the whole thing.

⬇️ What brought her to the Triangle: I am from the South [born in Memphis], so I wanted to move back to the South from New York. And I wanted to move to a place that had universities and was fairly progressive, and so I got a job here.

🍎 First thing she reads in the morning: Generally, I go to the Apple News feed.

👟 How she unwinds: Well, maybe it's not really unwinding, but I just ran the City of Oaks Half Marathon. But I have been running a good bit and I do some strength training, which can be somewhat relaxing.

🌆 Favorite long weekend spot: I love New York and the energy and people watching. I got to live near Central Park for a couple years so that was incredible.

🏚️ What she's looking forward to: I love historic preservation, and I restored a house in Boylan Heights.

  • Right now, Dix Park is restoring three old stone houses, and it's just amazing to see things that were so dilapidated and neglected come back to life. They will become a welcome center, offices, public space and public bathrooms next spring.

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