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.
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.