Ideally, all of the details would have been worked out before the first ticket to Prince’s Paisley Park was sold. However, because a final “t” wasn’t crossed, a wrench was thrown into plans to open the Minnesota rock icon’s studio to the public — a glitch that could disappoint hundreds of fans eager to get an inside look at their beloved Purple One’s creative space.
Hopefully Paisley Park managers and Chanhassen city officials will work together to resolve zoning concerns and allow the museum plan to move forward.
Prince was known for throwing impromptu, late-night dance parties at Paisley Park, and his family and associates say the rock star always wanted his studio to become a museum. But the late musician didn’t leave a will spelling that out. Since his death last April, a court-appointed trust has been working through the disposition of his estimated $300 million to $500 million estate.
Graceland Holdings, the company that oversees Elvis Presley’s museum in Memphis, was hired to manage Paisley Park and started selling tickets for tours. A request for rezoning was approved by Chanhassen’s planning commission and city staff. But on Monday the City Council tabled a final decision, casting doubt on whether the announced Oct. 6 opening day would occur.
Fortunately, a “Purple Reprieve’’ was granted. Council members approved a temporary, three-day permit to allow visitors Thursday and Saturday as well as Oct. 14, the day after an all-star tribute to Prince is scheduled at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Three dance parties in Prince’s honor are also scheduled to be held downtown next weekend in connection with the museum opening and tribute.
The temporary opening was great news for those who traveled to the Twin Cities to see Paisley Park on or close to those three days. But it remains uncertain whether others who bought $38 to $100 tickets (and in some cases purchased airline tickets) will be able to use them. On a 3-2 vote, council members delayed the rezoning because of concerns about public safety, traffic, parking and the need to gather more information about the facility’s impact on the community. When the museum is up and running, it could attract an estimated 600,000 visitors a year.
Under city rules, Chanhassen officials have until Dec. 20 to respond to the rezoning request. The city and Graceland Holdings should try to resolve any outstanding issues before then. The “Purple Reprieve” dates should give them an idea of the impact of museum on the community and help them make a final decision.
Paisley Park can become a tourist attraction that would benefit the entire Twin Cities region. Once residents can be assured that their concerns have been heard, the Chanhassen City Council should act to minimize possible losses for fans holding tickets and allow U.S. and international visitors to honor the legacy of their beloved Purple One.