Detroit will rename Chene Park as Aretha Franklin Park

click to enlarge Chene Park lit up in honor of Aretha Franklin during a Thursday tribute concert for the late songstress. - VIOLET IKONOMOVA
Violet Ikonomova
Chene Park lit up in honor of Aretha Franklin during a Thursday tribute concert for the late songstress.


Detroit will rename outdoor riverfront amphitheater Chene Park as Aretha Franklin Park, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announced at Franklin's funeral Friday.

The renaming, to be passed by a Detroit City Council resolution on Tuesday, will wed Franklin's legacy with what Duggan called "one of her favorite places in the world."

“For generations to come, when performers from around the world come here they’ll be reminded that they are performing at the home of the Queen of Soul,” Duggan said.

Franklin last performed at Chene Park in August of 2015, in what was a rollicking show that marked the park's 30th anniversary. Last night, dozens of artists performed at the venue situated on the Detroit River east of downtown, for a free concert in Franklin's memory.

Duggan said the idea to name the park for the legendary songstress emerged in talks with her family.

"One of the themes that kept coming up was that Ms. Franklin loved the Detroit River, that she lived her last months at the riverfront ... and she seemed to draw ... power from the river itself," he said.

The council resolution will eventually be solidified by a city ordinance, City Council President Brenda Jones said at the funeral.

Built in 1985, Chene Park was the brainchild of former Detroit Mayor Coleman A. Young, who wanted a place where Detroiters could attend outdoor concerts. At the time, the primary alternative was Pine Knob — a long drive up I-75 in Oakland County.

Duggan says since then, Chene Park has stayed true to its original mission.

"Even with all those world class performers — half of our concerts are either free or low-cost tickets, so it's a place that belongs to all Detroiters."

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