As they decide on the future of Memorial Stadium, Mecklenburg County officials are hoping to that the City of Charlotte will contribute to renovations.
The future of Memorial Stadium has been connected to the status of professional soccer in Charlotte. Previously, the county was considering a $24-million renovation of the facility for the USL’s Charlotte Independence, with the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, county and Independence each contributing $8 million toward a 10,000-seat facility that could be expanded for MLS. However, the focus on Memorial Stadium’s future changed after Charlotte’s MLS bid–led by Marcus Smith–called for demolishing it and replacing it with a new $175 million venue.
After MLS efforts stalled, officials turned their attention back to the idea of Memorial Stadium being overhauled for a lower level of soccer. At a meeting last month, Mecklenburg County Commissioners voted to move forward with a $31.75-million renovation to the facility, but officials are hoping that the city will come on board to help share in the financial commitment for a project that involves a stadium renovation and an amateur sports facility. Whether that commitment comes remains to be seen, but the two sides are expected to discuss the plan next month. More from The Charlotte Post:
County Manager Dena Diorio presented a county-funded $31.75 million proposal at the Dec. 19 commissioners meeting, which was approved in a 6-2 vote. The county’s Intergovernmental Committee, led by Commissioner Trevor Fuller, intends to meet with the city’s Economic Development Committee, led by council member James Mitchell, next month to discuss co-funding Memorial renovations as well as an amateur sports complex at the Grady Cole Center site.
“Despite my disappointment, the county did vote to fully fund the renovation of Memorial Stadium,” said Mecklenburg County District 1 Commissioner and Intergovernmental Committee member Jim Puckett. “They did ask the county manager to go and see if anybody would like to partner with us. From a negotiations point of view, once you say that you can fully fund something, it gets tougher to tell someone to now make what you can fully fund one of their priorities.”
With the impending sale of the Carolina Panthers and the “NFL unknown,” Puckett hopes the city will join the county to refurbish Memorial, but admits it’s unlikely.
For much of the 2017 USL season, the Independence staged home matches at the Matthews Sportsplex, a facility located in nearby Matthews, NC.
Rendering courtesy Mecklenburg County.
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