Churchill Downs parking project continues

Updated: Jul. 24, 2017 at 6:00 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - On Monday, a controversial eight-foot fence and landscaping plans were approved for the continually expanding parking at Churchill Downs. The plans were approved by the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Jonathan Baker represented Churchill Downs at the meeting and said the fence will make parking safer for patrons.

"Churchill Downs is just simply looking for security," Baker said. "They have had a number of breaks-ins where people have jumped over the fence that is there today."

Neighbors voiced their concerns the parking project could close some roads near their homes.

"You are shutting off 90 percent of the people to get to our properties," Douglas Taylor said. "I'm talking for multiple owners and we want to be good servants and we want to make money too."

Taylor says he understands the roads in question are now Churchill Downs property, but he invested in properties near the track to park cars.

Churchill Downs purchased 50 acres in the spring to add about 100 parking spaces to the venue. They are also going to add traffic islands with landscaping to hopefully improve traffic flow.

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For renters whose homes were bought in the recent purchase they are indifferent to the parking changes.

"I was trying to make this our forever home," Cheryllyan Rayhel said.

Rayhel signed a rent-to-buy contract on her home on Taylor Boulevard. The price and grocery store across the street made it a perfect fit.

"They said I have to move within the next three years," Rayhel said.

Rayhel's neighbor, whose home lies on Churchill property, says she has to move out by September.

"We are freaking out about the whole thing because I don't want to move again," Rayhel said. "I wasn't supposed to move again."

Rayhel estimates she has put more than $15,000 into the home, which will now be a part of Churchill Down's new parking development.

Monday's decisions are contingent on a meeting with Metro Council regarding road closure. Renters like Rayhel do not have a voice at the table.

Rayhel she says she is taking Churchill Downs' improvements day-by-day.

"They will make tons of money but it will be hard for us," Rayhel said. "Right now, we are just confused. We don't know what we are going to do really."

John Asher with Churchill Downs says the meeting with Metro Council does not have a set date, but will happen in August. The parking project does not have a total price tag either as they work through all the details.

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