County Commission Delays Vote On Money For MLS Stadium
Updated Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Mecklenburg County Commissioners on Monday took a step back from their January vote in favor of funding a new Major League Soccer stadium in Charlotte.
Commissioners voted to defer until Aug. 2 a decision on whether to include the money in the county's Capital Improvements Budget. Commissioner Dumont Clark says that's to give the Charlotte City Council more time to consider whether to join the project.
“I want to know by then whether the city has approved the term sheet, or not. And if they haven't, we'll decide at the August meeting whether we reallocate the money to other purposes or whatever we do, we decide at that time,” Clark said during Monday’s budget straw vote meeting.
County commissioners voted in January to join the project. But just hours later, the city council canceled a vote on the deal. Council members have shown no signs of re-scheduling a vote since then.
The Smith family, which runs Speedway Motor Sports, has pushed forward with the bid, saying it still hoped to work out a deal with the city.
The group wants city and county to put up about $45 million each toward the $175 million stadium. Memorial Stadium and the Grady Cole Center near uptown would be torn down, and a new 20,000-seat soccer stadium constructed.
Charlotte was among a dozen cities to submit bids for two new teams earlier this year.
If the county were to back out, commissioners say the $45 million could be re-allocated to other major projects, such as schools, parks and greenways.
Marcus Smith is leading the bid campaign. In a statement Monday night, he said the group still hopes the city will provide stadium financing:
"The campaign for MLS continues. We will focus on informing city leaders about the benefits of MLS, so they can reach the best decision for our community. We encourage MLS supporters in Charlotte to make their voices heard prior to August 2nd," he said.