Many of you believe that the city and county’s contribution toward a new stadium (or any other new business) is charity.
Kicking in millions for a new soccer stadium isn’t charity. It’s an investment. I don’t say this as a soccer fan. I’m not. I say this as a fan of Charlotte. If you go downtown, you understand the impact Bank of America Stadium, Spectrum Center and BB&T BallPark.
I was criticized for writing that a soccer stadium at the old Eastland Mall site would ensure that an MLS team fails. But look at the Charlotte Knights. When they played in Fort Mill, you could have shaken hands with everybody in the ballpark and missed less than a half inning. Now, it would take you all day.
The Elizabeth neighborhood, specifically the site occupied by Memorial Stadium and Grady Cole Center, is where the new stadium will be built. The neighborhood already is the new South End, albeit with fewer khaki pants. A stadium would attract new business. And the new owners, city and county will, one assumes, enhance the local greenway system.
There is no guarantee Charlotte gets a team. We’re one of 10 cities competing for a Major League Soccer franchise. Why not here?