Big plans for Memorial Stadium, set to be renovated by 2021

Big plans for Memorial Stadium, set to be renovated by 2021

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The Charlotte Economic Development Committee (EDC) voted 3-1 Thursday to recommend spending up to $3 million to help with renovations at Memorial Stadium.

County Commissioners voted earlier this year to invest more than $30 million in renovations for the stadium that sits just outside of Uptown.

"It is not in good enough condition to be used right now. It has not been used in recent years. It needs a lot of remodeling," said Mecklenburg County Commissioner Pat Cotham.

The city will help pay for an artificial turf while the county covers the remaining costs of renovations.

"I think the citizens like to see when the two governments work together," said EDC chair James Mitchell. "Trust me, I do not think we will have a problem with what we can bring there. This will allow us to be creative."

In return, the city will receive 5 rent-free days a year for 15 years to utilize the stadium for events like concerts, or battle of the bands.

The Charlotte Independence and the Charlotte Hounds will both play games in the stadium. However, the county manager says they hope to host a wide variety of events from college championships to community festivals.

"Small college football games to large high school football games. Battle of the Bands type of events. There have been different festivals held there like beer festivals or music festivals," said Councilman Larken Egleston, District 1. "I think it is well situated to be successful and I think it will add a lot of energy to that part of my district."

"The CIAA football Championship is up in 2020. We will make an appeal to them," said Mitchell.

The stadium, which is a county asset will be available to rent by the public as well for community events.

"We advertise our parks and a lot of the things we have and usually the response is pretty good," said Cotham.

While work begins on the renovations, the hope is to keep much of the historical meaning.

"Any great city has to look toward its heritage. This is great heritage," said Dan Morrill with the Historic Landmark Commission."They need to preserve character-defining elements in the stadium. The most important is the ticket booths. Do not destroy the ticket booths."

The renovations are set to be complete by 2021.

"To me, this was an olive branch to say the city and county need to continue to work together. I think down the road when we are talking about Discovery Place, or North Tryon, or Spectrum, or the Panthers. Having the county work with us will make this a better community."

The full council is set to vote on the recommendation on May 30.

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