Around Town

Pro soccer renovations close for Memorial Stadium

The Story

Mecklenburg County and the Charlotte Independence United Soccer Leagues pro team are close to a deal that would renovate Memorial Stadium into a pro soccer-friendly stadium.

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The Facts

– $4 million renovation would widen the field to accommodate soccer. Meck would cover half.

– Rock walls would get pushed back and corners “notched”

– Renovated stadium will become home to the Charlotte Independence, new United Soccer Leagues Pro team that replaces Charlotte Eagles. Since renovations won’t be finished by this spring, the Independence will play in various stadiums around town this season.

– Hounds lacrosse and high school, community events would still be held at Memorial.

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– Renovations need county manager and county commission approval.

– Long-range renovation plans would include a south concourse, new press box and more seats. Pricetag: $18 million. Beyond that: Turning Grady Cole Center into a field house.

– Fun fact: American Legion Memorial Stadium was built with federal WPA money and dedicated to World War I veterans by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1936. It’s an official historic designation.

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– Fun fact 2: Memorial Stadium for years was where Charlotte launched is Fourth of July fireworks show.

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– Not-so-fun fact: In 2009, the stadium underwent renovations after rows of seats collapsed.

The Quotes

– “Sounds like another ‘Nascar Hall of fame’ debacle to me.” – CharlotteObserver.com commenter

C5’s Take

Memorial Stadium has the promise of being a very cool city stadium, and a nice addition to the south side of uptown/Elizabeth. With the popularity of soccer, we don’t see this as another NASCAR Hall of Fame. It’s a great move for Charlotte.

Photos: Todd Sumlin, David T. Foster III, Davie Hinshaw / Charlotte Observer & Historic Landmark Commission 

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