DETROIT (FOX 2) - Chene Park has officially been renamed Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre. The new sign, featuring a stylized signature of the Queen of Soul's first name, was unveiled Friday in a special ceremony.
Mayor Mike Duggan told mourners at Franklin's funeral in August the name would be changed to Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre, saying "when Aretha Franklin sang, it sounded like the voice of Detroit." Days later, City Council unanimously approved it.
"August 22, 2015. The most memorable concert that ever occurred here was Aretha Franklin, open by the Isley brothers and she went on well past midnight untill she finished to the lore of the crowds and our R-E-S-P-E-C-T," Duggan said. "She loved this facility."
The riverfront facility is known for its outdoor stage and summer concerts, and hosted a Franklin tribute show last summer. She performed at Chene Park in 2015 to celebrate its 30th anniversary.
":She would be very very very happy," said Kecalf Franklin. "She would be extremely happy. Everybody turning out and as always coming together in celebration."
"This daughter of Detroit has a permanent memorial. She brought joy to millions around the world, but now on this beautiful riverfront people will enjoy music for years to come. And Detroiters will be saying for years, 'Tonight, I'm going to The Aretha!'" Mayor Duggan said at the naming ceremony.
"Aretha would be so happy about the renaming of this fine city park. She loved Chene Park; she loved Detroit; and she loved you," her niece Sabrina Owens added.
The spring and summer concert series kicks off on May 31.
Franklin died Aug. 16, 2018 at 76 after a years' long battle with pancreatic cancer.