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A fine day to park

Jacob Jones had four vehicles parked on the front lawn and two on the side outside his house at the corner of Elizabeth Street and Forest Park.

Jones, 30, said he was unaware of the city's crackdown on cars parked on lawns on University of Kentucky home football game days. He became aware of the enforcement Saturday, when he noticed several Lexington police officers patrolling his neighborhood.

The officers were placing warnings on vehicles and for the property owners.

"Luckily, this week is a gimme," said Jones.

He found the enforcement frustrating because "it's a lot of money that people in this area can take advantage of." Jones, who charges $10 a car, said he would park his vehicles on the street so he could get more into the driveway for future home games.

Lexington police issued about 550 warnings for vehicles parked on lawns, said Lexington police Lt. Ken Armstrong About 15 to 20 parking citations were issued for illegal street parking in neighborhoods near Commonwealth Stadium.

Driving around the Elizabeth Street neighborhood Saturday, Officer Chris Cooper said there was much less parking on the lawns than in previous years.

Police decided to give warnings for the first home game because many fans come from out of the area and may not be aware of the tighter enforcement, Armstrong said.

Next weekend, the city plans to fine violators $15, although the fine can be reduced to about $8 if it is paid early. But the Urban County Council has tentatively approved an amendment that would restore front-yard parking; first reading on the amendment is set for Thursday.

In years past, residents said, police looked the other way.

"The last thing we want to do is make their visit unpleasant because of the lack of knowledge of a city ordinance," he said.

John and Marsha Logan of Henderson learned about the new ordinance when they parked on Jones' front lawn about 30 minutes before kickoff. The couple said they have parked on front lawns in the Elizabeth Street area in the past because it was worth it to park close to the stadium.

"I think it needs to be up to the property owner," Marsha Logan said.

Now, they'll have to plan to arrive in Lexington early to get a parking spot, she said.

Police were also working with code enforcement to make residents aware of trash or other items on the streets that could be violating code. Code enforcement officers removed a pile of trash from the curb near Dorothy Freeman's home on Westwood Street. She said the trash had been on the curb for at least a month.

"I was happy to see it go," she said. "People are allowed to get away with that kind of behavior until a football game because they don't want it to be burned."

But she was fine with the front-yard parking, she said. She used to charge for vehicles to park in the front and back of her house. Now, she will stick with back-yard parking.

Ron Cobb, who lives on Westwood Drive, said the problem isn't parking on lawns, but with the fights or the out-of-control partying on game days.

He used to allow people to park in his front lawn for free — or charge a small fee on game days. Cobb said he has seen vehicles park on lawns in his neighborhood when there isn't a football game and no one is ticketed.

He doesn't think parking on lawns is a big deal.

"I don't think it's terrible because there is eight home games," he said.