No matter how many studies show that new sports stadiums don’t help cities nearly as much as officials say they will, people across America keep on insisting a new stadium is the cure for all of their cities’ ills.
In the latest and perhaps most ridiculous example, Michael Smith, CEO of Charlotte Center City Partners, thinks a proposed MLS stadium in Charlotte would heal the city’s racial divisions.
Smith also said the new stadium would offer an opportunity to help heal the racial divisions in Charlotte that erupted following the Sept. 20 Keith Lamont Scott shooting by a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officer.
“This is a $175 million public project,” said Smith. “We as a city were changed last September … This is an opportunity for us to have a really large investment and think through how do we do it differently?” The project could offer chances for worker apprenticeships or greater minority-owned business participation, Smith said.
“We think landing an MLS franchise is nothing short of the the defining accomplishment of our generation,” he said.
If the defining accomplishment of your generation is landing an MLS franchise, your generation needs to try a little harder.
The current stadium proposal calls for the city and county of Charlotte to pay half the $175 million price tag, with investors covering the other $87.5 million. Taxpayers, naturally, are resistant to the idea, forcing stadium proponents to reach for arguments in their favor.
And yeah, we mean reach.