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Mayor Roberts Says City Is Still Open To Talk MLS Stadium Deal

Memorial Stadium in Elizabeth would be torn down and a new soccer stadium built, under the plan.

Charlotte’s mayor says city funding for a major league soccer stadium is still a possibility. But the city council still has some big questions that need answers.     

Speaking after an event called ‘Can We Talk?,’ Mayor Jennifer Roberts said yes when it comes to the city spending $44 million to help finance a new professional soccer facility at the site of American Legion Memorial Stadium.

[Her comments followed an announcement earlier in the day that an ownership group behind the MLS effort still plans to submit a bid by Tuesday's deadline. A spokesman said there's still time to work out a stadium deal.]

Last week, Roberts abruptly canceled a public meeting on the subject. And she still has a number of issues with the bid to land MLS in Charlotte. "You know, a lot of this has been kind of mysterious," Roberts says. Adding, "what is the real deadline and when is the decision being made and why was it to happen so quickly?" But she states the council is still open to talking. And asking questions like is Memorial Stadium the place for this kind of facility? What about traffic problems? And lots more. "There are probably six or seven or eight different areas that people still need to have answers and I’m not sure what timeframe would work for that."

The money for the city’s share of the funding would come from tax dollars earmarked for tourism spending. But it is still a big check for the council to write. And Roberts points out the council has a lot on its plate already. "You know our priorities are around job creation. Around housing, making sure everybody has a safe place, an affordable place to live. And around helping our youth have a bright future." But Mayor Roberts says the deal could still get done if it’s the right place, the right time and the right structure.