With few of the frills or ceremony so often associated with the late music icon, the Minnesota Department of Transportation on Thursday installed new road signs designating a section of highway in honor of late recording artist Prince.
From now on, a seven-mile stretch of State Highway 5 near the musician’s Paisley Park home and studio in Chanhassen will be known as Prince Rogers Nelson Memorial Highway — with bright purple signs marking the route.
About a dozen people, including fans and family members, were on hand Thursday as one of the signs was installed a short distance from Paisley Park. Purple flowers, photos and signs honoring and remembering Prince lined a fence along the property.
Prince’s sister Sharon L. Nelson said that after a long effort to get the project approved at the Legislature, the sign’s installment felt like the “cherry on top.”
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“You know Prince’s DNA is all up and down this highway, right? For so many years, he really was,” Nelson said. “And we're going to remember, every time we pass this way, every great song he ever made.”
State lawmakers earlier this year overwhelmingly approved and the governor signed into law a bill greenlighting the rebrand of that stretch of highway.
Mark Webster was a close friend of Prince’s and pressed the Legislature to approve the signs — and to make sure they were purple.
“We had to testify in front of a couple committees to get that purple sign but you can see that we got the purple sign,” he said. “I think they’re a going to look beautiful going down the highway, and this highway will be here for eternity.”
State Sen. Julia Coleman, R-Waconia, said the project had been a long-time mission for her too since Webster brought the pitch before the Chanhassen City Council.
“Today is about Prince because Prince transcended things like partisan politics. It's a bipartisan bill, a bipartisan effort to honor a great man and Chanhassen’s favorite neighbor,” Coleman said.
Motorists driving in the area will be able to see the purple signs along with roadway and pedestrians can take a closer look — and a selfie — near Paisley Park.