Plans for a renovation to Charlotte‘s Memorial Stadium are taking shape, as the historic facility is slated to undergo a major overhaul and become home of the Charlotte Independence.
The concept for a Memorial Stadium renovation calls for $35 million in improvements. It would effectively modernize the historic facility–first built in 1936 as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project–for a variety of uses, including home matches for Division II USL Championship‘s Independence. Among the specific upgrades in the works is a widened playing field, with the renovation slated to conclude in time for the 2021 USL Championship season.
Discussion over the plans continue, with the Historic Landmarks Commission set to review the proposal at a June 10 meeting. More from WSOCTV.com:
The existing stands will be demolished so that a wider field can be built to accommodate football, soccer and lacrosse.
“The field is still going to have the same orientation to the city skyline,” said Dan Morrill, the consulting director for the Historic Landmarks Commission. “It’s going to continue to be a horseshoe-shaped stadium. It’s still going to use the rock wall, which has always been a signature element in the stadium.”
Also key for Morrill is that the renovated stadium will continue to maintain a memorial to those county residents who have died in war.
“It’s extraordinarily important for this signature place in the community to have a continuity of culture,” he said. “I think that’s what the plan has achieved.”
Discussion of the Independence eventually moving into a renovated Memorial Stadium has taken place off and on over the years. In 2016, Mecklenburg County was considering a $24-million renovation of the facility for the club, 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 a Charlotte MLS expansion bid– led by Speedway Motorsports president and CEO Marcus Smith–called for demolishing it and replacing it with a new $175 million venue. After MLS efforts stalled, officials turned their attention to the latest Memorial Stadium plan.
The Independence currently plays homes matches at the Sportsplex at Matthews, a facility in suburban Matthews, NC.
Rendering courtesy Mecklenburg County.
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