ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – The late pop superstar Prince will have a highway named after him in his home state, following a vote by Minnesota lawmakers on Thursday.
The Senate vote was 55 to 5 to rename the highway that passes the museum and studios Prince’s Paisley Park. Among those watching was her older sister, Sharon Nelson. The bill passed the House unanimously last month on the seventh anniversary of Prince’s death, and now goes to Governor Tim Walz, who is expected to sign it.
Purple signs will soon rise along a seven-mile stretch of State Highway 5 in suburban Minneapolis, Chanhassen and Eden Prairie, designating it as the Prince Rogers Nelson Memorial Highway. Prince’s friends and fans foot the bill, said lead sponsor Republican Sen. Julia Coleman of Waconia.
“Prince was a true genius, a visionary artist who pushed the boundaries of music and cultures in a way that will never be forgotten,” Coleman told his fellow senators. “His influence can be heard in the work of countless musicians who followed him, and his legacy continues to inspire new generations of artists to this day.”
Paisley Park, where Prince lived and recorded, now attracts visitors of the whole world.
Paisley Park is also where Prince died on April 21, 2016, from an accidental overdose of fentanyl at 57 years old. The 65,000 square foot complex in Chanhassen is now a museum run by its estate as well as an event venue and recording studio.
Sharon Nelson told reporters that her brother’s music will live forever and that his spirit “sometimes sneaks up on me”. And she urged fans to shop around and see her 3,000 shoes on display.
The idea of naming the highway after Prince came three years ago from Mark Webster, a longtime friend of the star who works security at Paisley Park. He was among fans who gathered at the Minnesota Capitol to celebrate the vote. He said they will soon find a date that suits the fans for the signs to go up.
Prince’s birthday was June 7, but he didn’t celebrate birthdays because he was a Jehovah’s Witness.
The singer, songwriter, arranger and instrumentalist broke through in the late 1970s and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. He created hits such as ‘Little Red Corvette’, ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ and “When Doves Cry”. and sold over 100 million records worldwide.
Several years ago, Prince’s ‘Purple Rain’, released in 1984, was added by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry.
After a six-year legal battle that consumed tens of millions of dollars, the Internal Revenue Service and the estate administrator put the value of his estate at $156.4 million. Since Prince died without a will, his six surviving siblings at the time of his death were named as his heirs. The three youngest eventually sold most of their interests to music company Primary Wave.