Clock is ticking on Charlotte's potential pro soccer deal

Clock is ticking on Charlotte's potential pro soccer deal

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Mecklenburg County Commissioners are expected to vote on a plan Thursday morning that could bring Major League Soccer to Charlotte.

Sources confirm to WBTV that there are four yes votes and four no votes over the plans. The proposal will likely be decided by one commissioner.

The suggested site is Memorial Stadium, but several critics say put it elsewhere.

If there is a Charlotte corridor in need of revitalization, then look no further than Central Avenue.

What used to be Eastland Mall, a thriving shopping center, has now been reduced to a transit stop, barriers that say keep out, and a place for skateboard enthusiasts.

Bill Splawn who was on his skateboard there says bringing soccer to this part of town could make things back to life.

"I feel like, if you brought soccer over here, that it could liven things up a bit," he said.

Tuesday, Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio laid out the scenario to county commissioners who are being asked to come up with more than $40 million in startup costs.

Sevone Rhynes of Charlotte feels it's an issue of spending priorities.

"I think you should be looking at schools. I think you should be looking at how to try figure how to get affordable housing for people. Why can't you subsidize that?" he asked.

While Memorial Stadium has been called a primary site, some critics of the plan have suggested the old Eastland Mall property as a better fit.

Skateboarders agree.

Splawn said, "It would bring more people over. There's a lot of soccer fans. I would even go to Major League Soccer games."

City council takes up the deal on Friday after hearing from the public about what they think.

In many ways, it is a time sensitive issue because Marcus Smith of Speedway Motorsports, Inc., who's backing the effort, is supposed to submit to application to the league on January 31st, which is this coming Tuesday.

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