Waterfront Development Corp. won’t charge for parking for at least the next two years. | Courtesy of Waterfront Park

Waterfront Park visitors won’t have a pay a parking fee for at least two years following an announcement that a number of prominent Louisvillians stepped up to cover the park’s budget deficit.

Although implementation of paid parking is no longer imminent, Mayor Greg Fischer encouraged residents to reach out to their state representatives during the next General Assembly session and encourage them to restore funding to the Waterfront Development Corp., which oversees the park.

The governor eliminated funding for the organization in the last state budget, which led to the budget deficit that forced the WDC to consider charging for parking.

Fischer added that plans for an annual fundraiser for Waterfront Park operations also is in the works and could be a concert benefit.

During the donation announcement, WDC President David Karem stated that the organization is working hard to find a longterm solution to the park’s budget deficit, which includes lobbying the state legislature to help ensure the governor does not veto funding for the park again.

The WDC was facing a two-year deficit of $240,000, Karem previously told Insider.

Matthew Barzun, former U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom, and his wife Brooke Brown Barzun were identified as the leaders of the donor group who called friends and family to keep parking at Waterfront Park free.

“It really struck me and my wife Brooke that that didn’t seem right with everything going on that we would put up barriers to inclusivity,” Barzun said, noting that one of the reasons he loves Louisville is because it is so welcoming.

The other donors are: Ned and Nina Bonnie; Christina Lee Brown; Victoire and Owsley Brown III; Gill and Augusta Holland; Dan and Lisa Jones; David and Betty Jones; Austin and Janie Musselman; Stephen Reily and Emily Bingham; and Matt and Fran Thornton.

Both Metro Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith, D-4, and Councilman Bill Hollander, D-9, praised the donors for taking action.

“We have found a solution for it in the meantime,” Hollander said, “and we will find a solution for it permanently.”

Caitlin Bowling

Caitlin Bowling

Louisville native Caitlin Bowling has covered the local restaurant and retail scene since 2014. After graduating from the Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, Caitlin got her start at a newspaper in the mountains of North Carolina where she won multiple state awards for her reporting. Since returning to Louisville, she’s written for Business First and Insider Louisville, winning awards for health and business reporting and becoming a go-to source for business news. In addition to restaurants and retail business, Caitlin covers real estate, economic development and tourism. Email Caitlin at [email protected]