FORT WORTH — TCU's newly expanded, multi-million dollar stadium is the pride of campus. It's shown off across the country on game day.
But new questions are being raised about its planning as thousands of fans realize there's simply not enough parking.
It's forcing many Horned Frog partisans to park in unlikely — and sometimes illegal — places.
"Need to park? Twenty dollars, come on in," Lee Blanton urged. "We're gonna park on the grass.”
This scene is repeated until Blanton's yard is full.
“A lot of times they'll slow down and do a double-take. They'll see the sign and then stop in the middle of the road,” he said. That’s when he knows he has made a sale.
Blanton welcomes everybody in; usually, that’s about a dozen cars.
And it’s not just happening at his corner property about a mile from TCU's new football venue.
“People close to the stadium are charging 60, 80, 100 bucks a car,” Blanton noted.
People are paying, but the city of Fort Worth is paying attention.
“The city does have an ordinance in the book. It's very clear: You can't park in the front yard unless you have a hard surface,” said Fort Worth’s code enforcement director Brandon Bennett.
Concrete counts; lawns do not.
With TCU now in the Big 12 Conference, and with larger traveling crowds, game day parking is at a premium.
“It's so good to see people coming to the games, I don't care where they park!" said TCU neighbor Sandra Davis. "No, there's not enough game day parking.”
With the help of family and friends, Lee Blanton sees his lot as harmless. “We noticed that they're walking a long way. We got the lot here, so we figured, 'What the heck?'” he said.
After seeing another lot charging $50, John Young gladly paid $20 to park his truck with Blanton.
“It's entrepreneurial. This is America. You have the right to do it. It's your property,” Young said.
Nearby, neighbors are allowed by the city to park cars on their lawns during the Colonial golf tournament. That event is once a year, compared to the six TCU home games this season.
The city is working out a compromise.
“We're collecting intelligence; that is, we're going out and we're taking pictures of what these yards look like,” Bennett said.
The plan is to propose possible options to the City Council for consideration after this football season, which, in the end, could cost Blanton his booming streetcorner business.