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Park Heights community profiting from Preakness

Posted at 11:11 PM, May 17, 2024

BALTIMORE — The Preakness brings in the big bucks for the Pimlico Race Course, but it's also a prime opportunity for for the Park Heights community to cash in on some extra revenue as well.

Some of the people open up their front yards to anyone who wants to park and grab food to help them pocket some extra cash. But this year could be different. The city is strongly encouraging you to leave your cars at home and take public transit to the race.

"It's like Christmas for us up here. We love Park Heights and we love people when they come and enjoy Park Heights," said Joe Gentry, a Park Heights resident.

Gentry is a Preakness veteran. He's lived in Park Heights his entire life and profited off this event for over a decade.

"Ten years ago, it was easy for me to come out here and come to the park and a lot to make $1,500," Gentry said.

But he says since Uber and Lyft came into the picture, his money making opportunities have dwindled.

Last year, he says he only made $400. This year could be much of the same.

The Maryland Transit Administration is encouraging horse racing fans to take the bus, light rail, metro subway or MARC train to the event.

"Everyone likes to try to get extra earnings with parking. We waited into the parking at the Preakness fill ups. We bring in their cars and it's several of us on the block," said Lasharon Stewart.

Parking may not be as profitable this year, but when one gate closes, another opened for Stewart, who lives across the street from the track.

"I like soul food, so that's what I do. Soul food to the community, to the Preakness," Stewart said.

The Stewart's enjoy serving anyone who comes to the Preakness.

They love the turnout and that their neighborhood has this opportunity to cash in on a profitable weekend.

"They are very generous. They see how hard they work to accommodate the Preakness," Stewart added.

If you want to park at someones home, Park Heights residents recommend you get there as early as possible. Many of those vendors will have food and a bathroom as an option for you as well.