LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Some of Louisville’s most influential philanthropists are stepping up to keep parking free at Waterfront Park.
A group of ten couples are making donations to offset the $220,000 each of the next two years. That’s the amount needed for the Waterfront Development Corporation to not charge for parking.
Businessman and former U. S. Ambassador to Britain Matthew Barzun, along with his wife Brooke Brown Barzun, says he reached out to family and friends to look for a short-term solution.
He was able to get pledges to keep the WDC from charging for parking for the next two years.
Barzun said he was inspired to help keep the park accessible to everyone, when he was attending a Waterfront Wednesday concert. “I moved here 17 years ago and fell in love with this beautiful park.”
Among those making contributions are familiar names including David and Betty Jones, Christina Lee Brown, Victoire and Owsley Brown III, Stephen Reily and Emily Bingham, Gill and Augusta Brown Holland and Matt and Fran Thornton.
Barzun says the same group of donors work on a longer term solution including fundraising, possibly through a concert.
But Waterfront Development Corporation President David Karen said he does plan to try to get state funding restored. “We are going to go back to the legislature and try to work with them,” he said.
The WDC has worked to make up for more than $400,000 cut from its annual budget by Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin.
Mayor Greg Fischer says Waterfront Park is one of the biggest “revenue generating” properties in the city, and he said he believes it can be utilized for more events. He also urged local residents to contact state legislators to get more funding for the park.