New closure affects race fans as Churchill Downs turns for home - WDRB 41 Louisville News

New closure affects race fans as Churchill Downs turns for home on $32 million in parking upgrades

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The Kentucky Derby may be in the books, but construction continues at Churchill Downs -- and it will have a big impact on the way race fans get in and out of the track for the rest of the season. The Kentucky Derby may be in the books, but construction continues at Churchill Downs -- and it will have a big impact on the way race fans get in and out of the track for the rest of the season.
Churchill Downs turned the corner on the second half of its parking makeover on Monday. Churchill Downs turned the corner on the second half of its parking makeover on Monday.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- More construction broke from the gate at Churchill Downs on Monday, and it will once again impact the way race fans get in and out of the historic track.

The clubhouse gate is closed for the rest of the spring meet as construction crews move into the second phase of parking and entryway enhancements

"That involves renovating the lots adjacent to Longfield Avenue,"  Churchill Downs Spokeswoman Katherine Kington North said. "This is all part of the plan to bring these enhancements to Churchill Downs for both on-site parking and the arrival experience." 

The lots off Longfield Avenue will be repaved, re-striped and made to look nice like the new spaces in front of the Paddock. Crews will also make drainage improvements underneath the more aesthetically pleasing parking spaces. With the Clubhouse Gate closed, all fans can enter through the VIP gate, regardless of what's on their ticket, or through The Paddock.

Constructions has been a constant at Churchill Downs as the track continues to add seats and new spaces to watch racing. Some people living in the shadow of the twin spires were more upset with this years changes, the ones that closed off Central Avenue to all traffic except buses and shuttles for the Kentucky Derby and the Kentucky Oaks .

It left neighbors in the dust, unable to make their usual Derby dollars for yard parking and cut off from the easy access to a popular block party.

"The people cannot even get to my neighborhood anymore because they took a fence and just set it up right across," said Charles Green, who lives near the track.

Kington North said the track's logistics team is in the "evaluation process" with these changes. The post-Derby debrief with organizers must also include a look at the big yellow walkway over Central Avenue. Fans slipped while exiting the track, and it closed on race day. It has since been removed. 

Nonetheless, the race is on to get the $32 million of parking updates complete before the Breeders' Cup. Kington North said it's not clear if the same parking plan will be in effect for that event.

"A lot of it will have to do with crowd sizes and what we can expect," Kington North said. "I would imagine it's similar, but there may be slight changes."

The return to regular racing days means there is free on-site parking at Churchill Downs. The locations vary for some of the bigger events. 

To learn more about updated parking at the track, click here.

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