LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – Louisville’s Waterfront Park has free fountains, free fun, but no more free parking.
“To pay may make people think twice before coming to visit,” said Holly Colyer of Jeffersontown.
For the first time in its history, the Waterfront Development Corporation has voted to charge for parking. It will be $3 for three hours of parking Wednesday through Sunday. Monday and Tuesday will be free.
“You're already looking to do something as a family without having to spend money and you think of parks as a place to do that and thinking about having to pay for parking is upsetting,” said Kelly Fiechter, of Henry County.
The decision goes against the wishes of the mayor, Metro Council and hundreds of emails and messages from people not wanting to pay to park. Despite that, the vote was in favor of the fee 7 to 3.
Why are they charging now? The state was giving the park $420 thousand a year, but stopped in 2014.
Councilman Bill Hollander was not happy.
“It's just a bad decision. It's one of the best places in Louisville. It's one of the most diverse places in Louisville and we need to keep it that way,” Hollander said.
Not everyone is worried, however. Tim Minard owns Dogs on the Run, and he's been set up in Waterfront Park for the last eight years.
“People will get used to it. They'll find ways to keep coming,” Minard said.
Even though he's concerned there could be less foot traffic and fewer people buying hot dogs, he’s optimistic.
“I think it'll work out. I think it'll work out,” he said.
It's still unclear when the paid parking will begin. The board decided in their last meeting to charge every day in the lot closest to Slugger Field because many were parking there for an entire work day. That lot already has parking machines.