Mecklenburg County May Scale Back Charlotte MLS Stadium Commitment

Proposed Charlotte MLS stadium

Mecklenburg County is looking to scale back its financial commitment to a new Charlotte MLS stadium, diverting previously committed funding to spending on 13 park, greenway and recreation center projects.

The county is scheduled to pay$43.5 million toward a new Charlotte MLS stadium in 2020. Under the plan proposed by Mecklenburg County manager Dena Diorio and scheduled for a vote tonight, that amount would be reduced to $30 million — the same amount that has been proposed as a city contribution. The savings would be spent on 13 park, greenway and recreation center projects that were supposed to be funded as part of 2008 referendum passed by voters. From the Charlotte Observer:

The county manager’s capital budget had $71.25 million for the stadium next year, and then another $43.5 million for fiscal year 2020.

After that, the county would begin collecting lease payments of $4.25 million a year from the potential soccer team. The total cost of the stadium, which would be built on the site of Memorial Stadium near uptown, has been estimated to be $175 million….

“With the County’s financial commitment to the proposed soccer stadium reduced there is additional capacity to fund park projects included in the 2008 Bond,” Diorio told commissioners in the email Monday night.

The reduction in the county’s contribution is more bad news for the proposed Charlotte MLS stadium. The original funding plan relied on $43.5 million each from the city and the county in 2020. The ask from the city was reduced to $30 million, but even that amount hasn’t received much support from city officials. And with the county potentially scaling back to $30 million, that leaves about $27 million unfunded in the plan proposed by Marcus Smith of Speedway Motorsports.

Charlotte is one of 12 expansion candidates in the mix for a new team in coming years.

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