City leaders speak out on BofA Stadium upgrades - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

City leaders speak out on BofA Stadium upgrades

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Now that Charlotte city leaders have publicly announced a plan to help pay $143 million for upgrades to Bank of America Stadium, some council members are talking about why they decided to support the proposal.

"Because it's good investment for the business community" says Council Member John Autry. "Carolina Panthers are part of entertainment all citizens can benefit from. They contribute $600 million a year of economic impact to the community."

Council member Andy Dulin, a republican, says he supports the proposal. "It's a complicated issue. I really would have liked to have been able to figure out how to use some other way other than 1% increase on prepared foods - but we ended up being there."

According to an agreement Mayor Anthony Foxx released on Friday, the city would provide $143.75 million. In exchange the Panthers would stay in Charlotte for 15 years. Most of the money would help pay for upgrades.

Click here to read the official release.

A council member tells WBTV that the Panthers organization told city leaders the stadium needs escalators and video technology. Council members were told the upgrades would be amenities available to everyone who goes to the Stadium.

Council member Dulin says from his perspective the city needed to make the deal.

"The gist of it was, and what we're weighing is the loss of the Panthers - and that brand in Charlotte and the Carolinas versus keeping them" says Dulin. "What do we need to help them stay here, help them be vital."

Council member Autry says, "Currently there's nothing that tethers the team to Charlotte. With this agreement there would be a 15 year agreement."

Council members say they've heard from voters who are upset about the proposal and others who support it.

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