The infamous Churchill Downs had a recent facelift. Located in south Louisville, Kentucky, Churchill Downs is a thoroughbred racetrack, known worldwide for hosting the annual Kentucky Derby, it opened in 1875, and held the first Kentucky Derby and the first Kentucky Oaks in that year. The capacity of Churchill Downs is roughly 170,000.

At the cost of $32 million, the present beautification taking place includes a new temporary walk bridge to connect the parking lot to the entrance of the track, this enables cars to enter and exit the lots without having to stop, and once the Kentucky Derby is over, it bridge will be removed.

Other renovations have included a paved walkway, in place of a parking lot and also the main entrance, near the Kentucky Derby Museum, moving too. There will be new outdoor LED lighting and perimeter fence to improve pedestrian safety and mobility. And the bus depot will be bolstered by a new pedestrian plaza and enlarged paddock entrance gate.

Churchill Downs changing

According to Kevin Flanery, president of Churchill Downs Racetrack, the parking, shuttle and traffic congestion had been a recurrent problem, the investment would help in expanding the transit operation, especially during Derby week. It is planned that the construction project will be done in phases with the first, under construction now, focusing on areas near Central Avenue and to be completed before the start of the spring meet this year.

The second phase will start after the 2018 Kentucky Derby and be ready in time for the 2018 Breeders' Cup World Championships in November. Churchill Downs said it has also installed signs and electronic message boards to direct visitors during the construction. And personnel are on site to help navigate motorists and update them on temporary road closures and parking lots they can use.

Some discontented fans have their say

Unfortunately, some fans are disgruntled with the changes and charges! Some have voiced their dissatisfaction, stating that the venue fees have gone up and the new directions are confusing once they have parked in one of the new lots. But mainly, their grouses are with poor signage and much less with the new security measures which have also been beefed up.

One racehorse owner and trainer, Christopher Jackson, on seeing the new construction for the first time explained that people were uncomfortable with change but would, over time, adapt and adjust. He believes that modernizing and upgrading Churchill Downs set it up for big-time racing.

There are also further changes to come and this includes the moving of the official Churchill Downs store to a new location of 7,000 square feet, twice bigger than what it originally was. The owners of Churchill Downs envisage a bright, enhanced and profitable one for the famous venue and making these much-needed changes, they are sure will make it so.