Mecklenburg County will unveil plans next week to rebuild Memorial Stadium in Elizabeth into a soccer venue, a project that will involve widening the field and spending up to $24.8 million.
The plan doesn’t specify how the renovation would be funded.
But it suggested the county, the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority and the Charlotte Independence minor-league soccer team could contribute. The Independence team has long wanted to land a Major League Soccer franchise in Charlotte, and the team has said the stadium near uptown would be an ideal venue if it’s renovated.
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The stadium, built in the 1930s, now has about 20,000 seats. It’s mostly used for high school football.
The county’s plan calls for a smaller stadium, with 10,870 seats. There would be about 4,900 general admission seats, 1,100 club seats and 3,600 grass berm seats.
Memorial Stadium has a stone wall that rings the field. Under the new plan, the wall would be preserved, though it would have to rebuilt piece-by-piece because the field needs to be widened to make it 75 yards across.
If money is available, construction could begin in mid-2018. It would last 18 months, according to the presentation.
Construction would cost $22 million. If the county decided to install synthetic turf instead of grass, that would add another $2.8 million.
A year ago, the city and county said the CRVA might contribute if a renovated stadium were seen as a tourism draw. The CRVA could use money from hospitality taxes that are dedicated to tourism and can’t be used for other purposes.