How Charlotte's oldest stadium went from falling apart to thriving
Before Bank of America Stadium, Spectrum Center, or even the old Charlotte Coliseum, there was American Legion Memorial Stadium.
Why it matters: Charlotte's oldest stadium is a beloved piece of the city's history. It has seen everything from concerts to political rallies, plus festivals and sporting events.
What's happening: This year, two new professional sports teams will call Memorial Stadium home and will share it with the Charlotte Independence minor league soccer team.
- Anthem Rugby Carolina, a new professional rugby team, will start practicing and playing there in March.
- USL Super League Carolina, a new women's professional soccer team, kicks off its inaugural season in August.
Flashback: Former president Franklin Roosevelt traveled to Charlotte to dedicate the stadium in 1936.
- The stadium honors soldiers from Mecklenburg County who served during World War I. It was built during the Great Depression, providing area residents with jobs using funding from the Works Progress Administration.
- But the stadium fell into disrepair over the years. In 2017, Speedway Motorsports Inc. president and CEO Marcus Smith proposed replacing it with a Major League Soccer stadium, but county manager Dena Diorio was adamant that the county needed to control its "asset."
- After more than a decade of deliberation, Mecklenburg County, which owns and operates the stadium, began renovating it in 2019.
- Two years and $40.5 million later, the stadium reopened on July 7, 2021, with a minor league soccer match between the Charlotte Independence and New York Red Bulls II.
By the numbers: The stadium has hosted nearly 100 events since reopening in July 2021, per the county.
Here are seven more events coming up at the stadium:
- March 9: The Crown Lacrosse Classic will feature four college lacrosse games.
- April 5-6: High school athletes will compete in Stick With Us Lacrosse's Heroes Bowl and the NC Champions Challenge.
- April 24-28: The ACC women's lacrosse quarterfinals, semifinals and final will take place here.
- May 3-5: The ACC men's lacrosse championships will also be played here.
- May 25: The inaugural "Meck Mile" will feature a run around the stadium.
- June 7-9: The Carolina Chaos, a professional lacrosse team, will play here this weekend. The schedule is TBD.
- Aug. 22: A double-header marks the start of high school football with the annual High School Football Kickoff Night. Teams are TBD.
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