Editor’s note: The interviews for this story were done prior to the Indian Trail Town Council voting to put Town Manager Patrick Sadek on paid leave.
INDIAN TRAIL – The town could have a stadium fit for a National Football League or Major League Soccer team.
Town Manager Patrick Sadek said the future stadium would be built around the Chestnut Square Park artificial turf. He said it would accommodate the NFL and meets FIFA standards for a soccer stadium.
The only thing missing is funding. The town hopes to find a buyer to purchase naming rights for the future stadium, which could cost between $20 million and $30 million and would pay for construction. Then, town staff would present the proposed stadium to town council to vote on.
“It’s great brand exposure,” Communications Coordinator Abbey Ball said. “We already get thousands of visitors as it is now, let alone if we would be able to add a stadium and parking with the apartments and hotel. It would just be total brand awareness supporting a local project and good for branding.”
Sadek said the future stadium would add to the town’s growing sports culture. The downtown area includes Carolina Courts, the Mecklenburg Swim Association Olympic training pool, tennis courts and beach volleyball courts. Also located in Indian Trail is the Extreme Ice Center, which offers ice hockey and figure skating. Sadek said there is no other small town in the Charlotte metropolitan area that offers this many sports in a small place.
The design of the future stadium is also unique. The stadium would have 10,000 seats. There would be space below the seating area for small shops, which would only be open on days the stadium had games or events.
“You come in and shop, you see what’s happening at the stadium,” Sadek said. “You come to the stadium, before and after, you can shop.”
Sadek said because the town’s revenue comes from property taxes, having shops as part of the stadium would further Indian Trail’s economic development.
The future stadium would also be located near the proposed LYNX Silver Line stop in Downtown Indian Trail, which would be the last stop in Union County. Sadek said he thinks this will attract light rail riders to spend more time in the town.
“If someone gets in to Indian Trail at five and there is a game going on, they will probably go in and watch the game,” Sadek. “And they will shop in Indian Trail and maybe grab a bite to eat in Indian Trail.”
Sadek believes a stadium will put Indian Trail on the map, making the town competitive in Union County.
Sadek said town staff recently met with representatives from the Carolina Panthers to showcase its stadium plans. Ball said the representatives were “very excited and very impressed” with the design.
Indian Trail has a lot to offer for a brand looking to sponsor the building of a stadium, Ball said.
“Indian Trail didn’t have a lot going on for a long time,” Ball said. “Now, people are always shocked when they drive through and see what is going on. We are one of the fastest-growing communities in Union County. We’re the largest in Union County and new things are coming every day: the hotel, apartments, family fun centers, restaurants, shops. It really is a destination area right outside of Charlotte.”
Sadek said town staff has submitted the plan to the NFL and MLS but has not heard back yet.
“We want to imitate big players out there in our small town,” Sadek said.