Louisville Waterfront officials approve measure to charge for parking at Waterfront Park

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Louisville Waterfront Development Corporation has approved a measure to begin charging for parking at Waterfront Park in a 7-3 vote Wednesday.

It will cost $3 for three hours to park, and free parking will be allowed on Monday and Tuesday.

The fee would fill a major hole in the park's budget, but some members of Louisville Metro Council said they didn't want to see the Waterfront Development Council move forward with the plan.

“We think it's time for the park to step back and say, 'Let’s take another look at this,'” District 9 Metro Councilman Bill Hollander said.

After Gov. Matt Bevin pulled state funding for the park, it has been struggling to make ends meet to cover maintenance and other events.

“Gov. Bevin actually vetoed a $420,000 annual appropriation for park operations,” Hollander said.

That's why the Waterfront Development Corporation asked Metro Council for help and the council agreed.

The decision is not sitting well with many park visitors.

"It definitely will sway me, because the next thing to come is parking meters, so it’s this then it’s going to be meters then it’s going to be something else. It does deter you," said Lydia Clack, who said she comes to Waterfront Park several times a week with her son. 

Board members who voted for the proposal said the decision was not an easy one.

"Nobody wanted this to happen, but it comes down to we have to keep the park the way it is meant to be, and that costs money," said Waterfront Development board member Rip Hatfield. 

Mayor Greg Fisher asked the board twice to reject the proposal and keep parking free. In a tweet Wednesday night he said he was "extremely disappointed" in the board's decision. 

Hatfield said the parking rates will start at parking lot pay stations "as soon as possible."

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