by Sam Hieb
Charlotte Observer reports the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners to provide funding for a proposed $175 million Major League Soccer stadium. The stadium proposal is part of Charlotte’s bid –headed by “speedway magnate” Bruton Smith and his Marcus—to draw an MLS expansion franchise:
The county and city each would ante up $43.75 million under the proposal before them. The county, which owns the site, would finance another $75 million of the team’s share of construction costs, to be reimbursed over 25 years.
….Proponents said joining the league would add Charlotte to a growing, international soccer community, stimulating development near the stadium and helping lure the talented young people that local companies want to hire.
The Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority estimated the stadium would produce $41.5 million in new visitor spending each year.
Detractors called the approval process rushed and incomplete. They asked why a billionaire sports family should get nearly $120 million of county money when other needs, such as for school improvements, have been deferred.
Others defended the 1930s Memorial Stadium, which was built in tribute to World War I soldiers and would be torn down to make way for the soccer facility.
The City Council is scheduled to vote on its end of the deal on Friday. According to the Observer, a ‘no’ vote by the council would kill the deal.