Plan proposed to build MLS stadium in Elizabeth, sources say

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Channel 9 has confirmed a proposed plan to build a new Major League Soccer stadium in Elizabeth.

Eyewitness News learned that county commissioners met Wednesday night in closed session to discuss the plan.

READ MORE: MLS considers possible expansion to Charlotte

The plan is to level Memorial Stadium and the Grady Cole Center and build a professional soccer stadium. The stadium would hold 19,000 people, have luxury boxes and exclusively be used for Charlotte's MLS franchise.

There is no agreement in place yet. The proposed project would cost the county and the city of Charlotte $50 million each.

The money the county would use would come from its general fund, and the city would use money from its hotel-motel tax.

Commissioners Bill James and Matt Ridenhouer are against the idea of using taxpayer money to finance for-profit sports, according to emails obtained by Channel 9.

James also said a new stadium would be used only for MLS allowing the county to use it 20 days a year.

“I played soccer as a kid so that would be pretty cool for me to witness,” Nicole Giraldo said. “Coming to school here, and then that happening would be pretty cool.”

Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts tweeted that she was excited about the news and will continue to do all she can to support the city's bid.

Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority released a statement:

"We're exploring the possibilities of MLS at this time and are in a competitive environment with many other destinations. We'll refrain from publicly discussing the details of our negotiations and releasing records while we're in active negotiations."

Channel 9 reported last month that the MLS commissioner met with Charlotte Motor Speedway CEO Bruton Smith and his son, Marcus, as potential investors in bringing an expansion club to the Queen City.

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