Relax, Prince fans. Odds are there won’t be a wall going up around Paisley Park after all.
Despite concerns that a rezoning plan for Prince’s property mentioned the possibility of installing a perimeter fence that could block the view of the late musician’s Chanhassen estate and studios, those converting the complex into a museum say they don’t want to put one up.
Nor do museum operators intend to build or tear down any buildings on the 9-acre site, according to a source with the management company that will operate the Paisley Park museum.
Opposition to a wall blew up on social media after news circulated that rezoning plans for the property, which will be addressed Monday by the Chanhassen City Council, mentioned installing a new perimeter fence.
“The fence may be opaque and will limit visibility of the building,” the proposal stated. “In addition, it will discourage things from being attached on the fence.”
Prince’s fans let out a collective cry: “Say no to the wall.”
“We want Paisley Park to remain as Prince left it,” longtime Prince fan RayeEllen Stiles said this week.
Stiles sent a letter to Chanhassen officials voicing her displeasure and urging them to eliminate the wall idea from the rezoning proposal.
“If he wanted an opaque wall there, he would have put it there,” she said. “He wanted the fans to see Paisley Park. He was a private person, but he didn’t want to shut the world out. He wanted it to be seen.”
Stiles lives in Arizona and said she may visit Paisley Park — someday. But even if she doesn’t, she and others around the world want to preserve it as is.
“It’s sacred ground for the fans,” she said.
Prince died in April of an accidental overdose of the painkiller fentanyl.
Those converting Paisley Park into a museum say they want to preserve the property as Prince would want it. But they also want to keep Prince’s legacy as a “good neighbor” intact, which is why the museum operators included plans for an opaque fence if fans persist in putting memorials and tributes on and near the current chain link fence.
Earlier this week, balloons, flowers, cards and other tributes to Prince were removed from the fence because they, along with the steady stream of fans, were causing problems in the neighborhood. Vehicles stopped illegally near the site and pedestrians ran across roads where cars travel at 45 mph. A few fans went into a nearby day care to use the bathrooms; someone else knocked down the center’s mailbox, the Paisley Park source said.
“That’s not being very neighborly,” he said.
So the memorials on the fence were removed and a sign went up: “Help us be a good neighbor. Please don’t hang or place anything on or near the fence.”
The tributes that were taken down will be photographed and digitized for an “online wall” that fans can use to post additional remembrances. The museum also will include a digital exhibit of fan artwork and other Prince tributes.
Millions of dollars already have gone into converting Paisley Park into a museum. The money is being used to archive and preserve Prince’s property and make changes to accommodate the public.
Meanwhile, Stiles has collected more 12,000 signatures for an online petition seeking to have Paisley Park designated as a national historic landmark.
Denis Gardner, the National Register historian for Minnesota, said consultants are reviewing Paisley Park and a few other properties related to Prince for a possible designation. A recommendation that will eventually make its way to Washington, D.C., should be ready by next year, he said.