CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Charlotte Independence’s future lies at American Legion Memorial Stadium, which under a recent agreement approved by Mecklenburg County commissioners will undergo a $32 renovation that will modernize the historic venue in downtown Charlotte for both the Independence and the Charlotte Hounds of Major League Lacrosse to call their home early in the next decade.
“The Independence had the original will and vision to renovate American Legion Memorial Stadium to remake it into the great community asset it once was,” said Independence President and Managing Partner Jim McPhilliamy. “We are thrilled we will be able to make American Legion Memorial Stadium our home field starting in 2021. Being able to play in the new stadium will put the Charlotte Independence in a position to grow the beautiful game here in the Queen City and create something our whole community can be proud of.”
The agreement approved by Mecklenburg County will see the Independence pay a total of $2.12 million in rent over 10 years for use of the venue, while the county will receive 15 percent of the revenue from parking, concessions and naming rights in addition to $3 from every ticket order placed online. The cost of the renovation will be fully funded by the county, but there are continuing discussions with the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority and the City of Charlotte over a potential contribution of $8 million toward the initial cost of the proposed synthetic turf field.
The Independence and the Hounds would be the primary tenants at the facility and would play up to 30 games per year at the venue. The Independence currently play at the Sportsplex at Matthews, located outside Charlotte’s central hub, and are currently off to the best start in the club’s history with a 2-0-1 record that has put the side top of the Eastern Conference standings.
In addition to the presence of the Independence and the Hounds, the hope is the venue would also attract state-wide events in addition to providing a greater stage for the city’s local rivalries in other sports.
“I’m hoping we’ll do more with this stadium,” Mecklenburg Commissioner George Dunlap told the Charlotte Post’s Ashley Mahoney. “I haven’t been to a CIAA championship football game in a long time, and I’m hoping we can do something to attract them, since their headquarters are here as well. I’m looking forward to the renewed rivalry between Johnson C. Smith and Livingstone College being renewed at this stadium.”
Mecklenburg County is looking to hire a firm to design and build the stadium, with a potential timeline of the Independence moving into the renovated facility for the 2021 USL season.