May 4, 2023 - News

"Purple Rain" on the road: Minnesota to name highway stretch after Prince

prince up close at a microphone with purple lighting

Prince, pictured in London in 1986. Photo: Michael Putland/Getty Images

Prince fans making a pilgrimage to Paisley Park will soon be able to drive along a road named in the late icon's honor.

Driving the news: Legislation designating a seven-mile Chanhassen segment of Trunk Highway 5 as "Prince Rogers Nelson Memorial Highway" got final legislative approval Thursday, clearing the Senate on a 55-5 vote.

  • Signs highlighting the name will be painted his signature color purple instead of the typical brown.

Catch up fast: Prince opened Paisley Park, a 65,000-square-foot recording studio and estate, in the Twin Cities suburb of Chanhassen in 1987. He later began living in the complex, which was transformed into a museum celebrating his life and career after his 2016 death.

What they're saying: "Prince never asked nobody for anything," Mark Webster, a friend of the singer who has led efforts to memorialize his life, told reporters Thursday. "I think this is one of the greatest gifts we give him."

Between the lines: The legislation, sponsored by GOP Sen. Julia Coleman and DFL Rep. Lucy Rehm, passed both chambers with broad bipartisan support.

  • Lawmakers and transportation department officials worked behind the scenes to get the blessing of the family of a former state representative for whom the stretch of road was previously named.

Of note: The decision to designate a seven-mile stretch is symbolically significant.

  • "Seven was this important number to Prince," Rehm said, noting that the bill used to make the change was House File 717.

What's next: Gov. Tim Walz is expected to sign the bill, which passed the House on the anniversary of Prince's death.

  • A spokesperson for the Minnesota Department of Transportation told Axios the signs could go up later this summer.
state senator in a urple dress and white jacket stands at a microphone in front of a prince highway sign
Sen. Julia Coleman and Prince friend Mark Webster address the press after the bill passed. Photo: Torey Van Oot/Axios

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