Homeowners near Churchill Downs say renting their yards for park - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Homeowners near Churchill Downs say renting their yards for parking was 'the worst' this year

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Now that the Kentucky Derby is over, some south Louisville residents said it was not as lucrative as they hoped, blaming the closure of Central Avenue.

The busy street was closed Friday and Saturday for Oaks and Derby. It is a main thoroughfare along Churchill Downs, connecting to neighborhoods near the track.

A fence sent up along the street only allowed pedestrians to cross at two locations and blocked several alleys and streets from being accessed off Central Avenue. Because of that, many residents who normal offer their yards for parking were passed up, and the weekend wasn’t as lucrative as it usually is.

“I thought there would be a lot more traffic over in this area, and it wasn’t,” said Bakisha Thomas, who moved to the area in February and offered her yard for $50 per vehicle. Her yard is just a couple hundred yards from Churchill Downs.

“We thought it was going to be a different experience, and that is not what we got.”

Thomas’ neighbor two houses down owns a large lot and charged $150 for those who pre-paid online. Darrell Farrell lives near Sixth Street and Central Avenue and has rented out his lawn for the last 25 years.  His business was down nearly 80 percent last weekend.

“I think I parked four cars Friday,” said Farrell, who said he usually parks 20 a day.

However, the rain did not help the situation. Thomas believes some people who were planning on going to the track decided not to come since most of the day was a washout, the wettest Derby on record since 1918.

Some residents were upset they were not permitted to use golf carts to shuttle around fans from their cars to the track this year.

“We do it to make extra money just like everyone else around here," Lahersha Green said. "There is no set price. We ride on tips."

Many homeowners plan on having a neighborhood meeting to discuss ways to get traffic back into their neighborhood and profit back into their pockets.

“We lost a lot," Thomas said. "We didn’t make half as much as I thought I was going to make."

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