Midtown Raleigh News

Departing planning director Mitchell Silver to lead Raleigh walking tour

Planning director Mitchell Silver left his job at city hall last week, but Raleigh residents will have a last chance to hear his take on downtown this weekend.

Silver – who will start work as New York City’s parks and recreation commissioner on May 12 – is leading Saturday’s Jane’s Walk, a global series of free walking tours that is making its debut in Raleigh. He’ll reflect on downtown’s transformation since his arrival in 2005 and look ahead to the district’s future after his departure.

Silver’s walking tour starts at 1:30 p.m. in Nash Square, but organizers aren’t saying much about the itinerary.

“He’s keeping close to the vest where he’s going to take his participants,” said Katherine Loflin, who is running the Raleigh edition of Jane’s Walk.

The stroll with Silver is one of two walking tours the group has scheduled for Saturday; a third is on Sunday. At noon Saturday, a tour of downtown’s historic commercial buildings will set out from the City of Raleigh Museum. And at 2 p.m. Sunday, a third walk will showcase the Dorothea Dix campus, the 325-acre former psychiatric hospital property where Raleigh aims to create a destination park.

“People who haven’t had a reason to go there have no idea how incredible it is,” Loflin said. “I think it will be a moment of discovery for a lot of residents.”

Loflin hopes Jane’s Walk will become an annual event in Raleigh. Held in more than 100 different cities, Jane’s Walk is named after Jane Jacobs, an urban planning activist who died in 2006. Loflin says the model is a great fit here because “everyday citizens can take leadership roles in showing off their places to each other.”