Updated 2:39 p.m.
Mayor Vi Lyles said Monday that keeping the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte is the single biggest business retention challenge the city faces right now.
Lyles made the comment Monday afternoon during the first of what she said will be regular quarterly updates from the mayor's office.
The Panthers were one of the first topics on her mind.
Panthers owner Jerry Richardson is in the midst of selling the team and there are concerns that a new owner might threaten to move the franchise if the city doesn't subsidize a new stadium or help provide renovations to the existing one. Bank of America Stadium, which hosts the Panthers, opened in 1996.
"We know the value of the Panthers, both economically as well as their value to this this community. And that's what we're trying to continue to emphasize," Lyles said. "And when I talk about the Panthers, I talk about it as being the Carolina Panthers, but they're hometown Charlotte."
Lyles also said the city will continue to negotiate to keep the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association basketball tournament here. This year's tournament was held in Charlotte last week, bringing thousands of visitors to town.
Lyles also talked about the need to address Charlotte's shortage of affordable housing, the city's efforts to win the 2020 Republican National Convention, and the need to improve police-community relations. She also was asked about a recent request for higher pay for police officers. She said the city needs to study compensation at other departments as it determines how to respond.
Lyles also announced a new program that will allow citizens to make an appointment to meet with her, using a form on the city website. "We continue to try to focus on having people have access to us," Lyles said.
So, beginning Monday, she said, "If you want to meet with the mayor you can just fill it out online and send it in and we're going to try to make that happen."
Lyles said she'll hold another quarterly update with reporters on June 4.