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A $50 parking fee could impact visitor turnout at a new waterfront park in Fishers

(As Seen on WISH)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH)- During Monday night’s council meeting, Fishers City Council members discussed charging non-residents a $50 parking fee at the city’s new Geist Waterfront Park.

While some council members raised concerns about the affordability of the fee for visitors, a majority supported the notion as a means of recouping taxpayers’ investment. Seven out of nine council members supported the decision to implement the parking fee.

Documents reveal that the city spent $15 million to develop the first phase of the water park, which features concession stands, kayak rentals, a sandy beach, and a play area. An official with the city’s parks and recreation told the council the park has a parking capacity of 240 vehicles, the cove has a capacity for 300 swimmers, set to accommodate the number of visitors.

One council member expressed concerns about the message conveyed to non-residents, stating, “It sends a message to people outside of Fishers that they are unwelcome here.” The sentiment echoes the worries of those who believe the fee may deter potential visitors.

Another council member defended the parking fee, highlighting the importance of maintaining safety measures at the park, stating, “There is a significant cost to keep people safe while driving, and it’s instead of a narrative turning to ‘we’re trying to prevent people from being there.’

In response to criticisms of the fee’s affordability, one council member stated, “I don’t think there’s anything unreasonable at all. I haven’t heard any complaints from anybody in my district. This is not unreasonable.”

Another council member also justified the fee, “This is not a regional park. If it were, Indianapolis, Fortville, and all the other surrounding communities. [They]should have chipped in and helped pay for this park.”

City leaders say that the parking fee will help lifeguards monitor all visitors and effectively ensure the park’s operation. Furthermore, they have clarified that paid parking spans from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and parking will be free outside of the swimming season.

The water park is set to open on Memorial Day.