Proposal To Replace Historic Memorial Stadium Up For Review
Mecklenburg County commissioners will hear details Wednesday night of a proposal to replace Charlotte's historic American Legion Memorial Stadium with a new facility designed for soccer. The stadium opened in 1936 in the Elizabeth neighborhood. Construction was fueled by more than $51,000 in federal Works Progress Administration funding, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt came to town to help dedicate the new venue.
Over the years, Memorial Stadium has hosted high school and college football games, concerts, and more. The Charlotte Hounds major league lacrosse team currently plays its home games there.
Several years ago, some Charlotte-Mecklenburg leaders began talking about a major renovation of the stadium site and now, a proposal is on the table. It would create a new stadium designed with professional soccer in mind. It's a major project, with a price tag of at least $22 million.
"What we're proposing is a total teardown of the existing stadium," says Mecklenburg Park & Rec director Jim Garges. He adds that the stadium would be rebuilt, with history in mind. Garges says that would include preserving the venue's role as a memorial to military veterans. Plans also call for reusing pieces of the historic structure, including the trademark stone wall that encircles the stadium.
The proposed facility would offer general admission, luxury and grass berm seating options for a total of 10,870 people. That compares to Memorial Stadium's capacity of about 20,000.
Funding for the project, as local officials currently envision it, would include a mix of public and private money, with details not yet worked out. Under a draft timeline, a new stadium could open as soon as 2019.