Jennifer Roberts Previews Charlotte’s Meeting with MLS

Proposed Charlotte MLS stadium

Charlotte mayor Jennifer Roberts is offering details on what the city will discuss with MLS officials during their visit next week. 

On Tuesday, July 18, league executives will visit Charlotte, where an MLS expansion proposal continues to be debated by local officials. The bid, led by Speedway Motorsports CEO Marcus Smith, calls for a new $175 million stadium that would be constructed on the site of Memorial Stadium and the Grady Cole Center. Smith’s original funding model proposed contributions from both the city and Mecklenburg County, which would come in addition to private funds, but the city has not committed to the project.

Roberts expects that she will meet with MLS officials during the visit, a discussion that will come as the city continues to weigh its potential involvement in the project. More from WBTV:

During the press conference, Mayor Roberts said she expects to meet with MLS officials in the private meeting next week.

The discussion will be around priorities and timing,” Roberts said. Roberts said she plans to discuss how the stadium will be structured, what it will look like and how the possibility of a MLS team and stadium will affect Charlotte.

“I think that it’s a great opportunity for our city. We want to keep the doors open to opportunity, but we also want to be prudent with taxpayer money. And we know that there are priorities with our schools…with our parks…with housing. We want to make sure that we’re taking care of our city, that we’re maintaining what we have as well as reaching out to new opportunities.”

Roberts said she hopes MLS officials will get a takeaway of the overall picture of Charlotte and how the city matches up with the league’s needs.  “They’re looking at a lot of cities and they want to see where we fit in the other cities that they’re looking at,” Roberts said.

Charlotte was one of 12 cities that was represented in MLS expansion bids that were submitted in January. Earlier this year, the city scrapped a vote on contributing $43.75 million in tourism tax funds to the stadium, but more recently referred the project to an economic development committee. Mecklenburg County, meanwhile, had proposed contributions to the stadium project in its in capital improvement budget, but is deferred a vote on those funds until August.

The county is not expected to meet with MLS executives during their visit.

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