Charlotte, NC

Queen City Roundup 10/18: Panthers loss recapped, rezoning hearing for potential new stadium, Huntersville fire & more!

Collin Cunningham
Crews from four local communities collaborated to fight a fire at a soil retailer in Huntersville on Saturday.(Huntersville Fire/Twitter)

By Collin Cunningham

(CHARLOTTE, NC) As the lows temperatures gradually come to replace the highs in forecasts, Queen City residents experienced their first cold weekend of the season these past few days. Whether you're getting ready to enter hibernation mode in the months ahead, or the new weather has renewed your energy and fall spirit, the world just keeps on turning, and Charlotte along with it.

This weekend the Minnesota Vikings brought the Carolina Panthers their third straight loss when they came to Charlotte. In related news, City Council is preparing to look at rezoning a 55-acre parcel that Panthers owner David Tepper is eyeing for a new football stadium location and firefighters from Charlotte went out to Huntersville to battle a blaze. In addition, a state judge is looking to hear an update today on a proposed $1.7 billion school funding initiative.

Today is Monday, October 18, and here's what you need to know.

1. Vikings beat Panthers 34-28 in Charlotte

The Carolina Panthers started out this year strong, clinching three straight victories in the same number of weeks, but since Week 4 the team hasn't been able to celebrate a single win. The trend continued on Sunday when quarterback Sam Darnold threw an interception during the first quarter of the game. Cat Scratch Reader reports the Charlotte team was only down 10-12 by halftime, but after a typical Panthers third quarter — Panthers scored 13, the Vikings 7 — the team's fate was sealed.

That may be true for the rest of the season, too. Not only was Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey out on Sunday for his hamstring injury, as expected, but ESPN reported the team announced Saturday they were placing the noted player on injured reserve. He will sit out for at least three games, and if healthy enough will return just in time for the Panthers to play the New England Patriots on Nov. 7, in Week 9.

The Panthers now sit at a 3-3 record for the season, putting them at third in the NFC South, bracketed by the New Orleans Saints to the top and the Atlanta Falcons, who are in third. The Panthers' next kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Oct. 24 in New York against the Giants, who are 1-5.

2. City council to consider rezoning industrial land, potentially for new stadium

Panthers owner David Tepper hopes a 55-acre plot currently belonging to the Charlotte Pipe and Foundry Company could become the site of a new football stadium in the Queen City. The Charlotte City Council is scheduled to hold a rezoning hearing on the Uptown land to see if they want to approve the move from an industrial designation to a mixed-use one.

If they vote yes, then the land, which houses the manufacturing company's foundry, may be used in the future for a stadium. Charlotte Pipe and Foundry announced in May 2020 they would be moving out of the site by 2023 to a new plant in Stanly County, per Axios. The land is currently for sale and is expected to be purchased if Council gives a thumbs-up, but as of now a vote has not been scheduled.

Tepper, who has owned the team since 2018, looks to move the team to a new stadium for the first time since 1986, when the team's current haunt, the Bank of America Stadium, was completed.
The old Charlotte Pipe and Foundry plant site is located across the street from the Panthers' current stadium.(Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

3. Fire crews from Charlotte, Concord and Odell aid Huntersville in fighting large fire

Firefighters from three different commuities joined the Huntersville Fire Department on Saturday evening to quell a blaze at Wallace Farm Soil Products near the corner of Eastfield Road and Wallace Pond Drive. Crews were first called to the scene around 7:30 p.m. and the fire was gone by 9 p.m.

“Around 7:30 there was heavy black smoke blowing toward our house,” said David Barnum, a Huntersville resident who lives near the agricultural wholesaler. “The wind [luckily] is blowing the fire away from the large pile of mulch instead of toward it. Things seem a lot calmer now.” Investigators have not released any word on the origin of the flames.

4. NC judge looking for info on $1.7B education equity funding plan

As NC legislators work to finalize a state budget three months into the current fiscal year, a state judge scheduled a new hearing for today in an ongoing case concerning a $1.7 billion roadmap to reduce education inequality through 2023. Union County Superior Court Judge David Lee called the hearing and said he thinks the NC legislature and Gov. Roy Cooper's office should fund the measure.

Lee said in September that he would take direct action if more concrete details were available by today, but state lawmakers are currently discussing other aspects of the budget, including K-12 funding.

The roadmap is designed to put kids at different school districts on equal footing regardless of wealth and other factors. According to Public Schools First NC, the plan is the culmination of the 1994 Leandro v. State cases, in which parents in rural communities that lacked money alleged their towns, cities and villages were unable to provide children with a proper education.
Union County Judge David Lee wants to know who's going to put money towards a nearly $2 billion education initiative.(

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I cover the city of Charlotte, North Carolina for NewsBreak's Creator Program. Check back often for daily headline roundups to learn what's happening in the Queen City!

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