American Legion Memorial Stadium’s four-year facelift coming to an end, set to open in two weeks
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A project four years in the making is now coming to a close.
The American Legion Memorial Stadium is set to open in just two weeks. The renovated stadium hits three key words - diversity, equity and accessibility.
This stadium, opened in 1936, is a Charlotte staple. President Franklin Roosevelt came and visited the stadium shortly after it was built. The entire building honors the World War I veterans who fought hard and are celebrated as heroes.
The new additions include new lighting and broadcasting systems, additional ticket spaces and more accessibility in important areas around the stadium. An art exhibit honors the World War I veterans, which you can see from inside and outside the building.
The entire site is a bit over nine acres and it can fit about 10,000 people. For concerts, that apparently goes up to 15,000 with some people sitting on the field. The stadium has 104 overlook VIP seats, 60 VIP field level seats and 1,600 mid-field club member seats.
The stadium might be smaller than before, but it still holds a big place in the hearts of all the Charlotteanns who fought so hard to keep it here.
”You’re witnessing the rebirth of an 85-year-old asset,” says Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation Director W. Lee Jones.
Memorial stadium might have some years on it, but it sure does not look like it anymore.
”It’s played a very important role into many people’s lives for many, many years, so we’re excited to bring that back and extend the life of a very important asset,” says Bert Lynn, Mecklenburg County Capital Planning Director for Parks and Recreation.
It was not without a fight though. For years, American Legion advocates fought to keep the rusting relic in this ever-changing Charlotte landscape.
”It’s important to take the time to preserve our history. That’s one of our biggest complaints. We tear down everything that looks old just to replace it with something that looks new.”
Instead of replacing, the county chose repair. Mecklenburg County Capital Planning Director Bert Lynn says they spared no expense. 40 million dollars to be exact. Lynn says the money went to expanding the field, making stadium access more accessible and replacing the old grass field with a new, more durable turf field.
”We’ve been able to rebuild the stadium to it’s original elegance but modernize it to the point that it can be used for multiple sports and we’re happy about that,” says Jones.
Soccer will come first, Jones says the county wants football, high school games and concerts to come here too.
”The public should expect a wonderful refresh, a wonderful experience,” he says. “There’s not a bad seat in this stadium.”
The reopening should be on July 7th according to the director. People will be able to see a soccer game on that night too.
Copyright 2021 WBTV. All rights reserved.