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Thread started 04/21/17 5:35am


Article from the hometown newspaper


Prince of Chanhassen: The quiet guy who lived next door

Morgan Rustman of Lafayette, Minn., examined the mementos Prince fans hung on the fence inside the Paisley Park compound on Monday, April 10.

Prince performed at a Ray Charles tribute concert in the Fireside Theater at the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres on March 12, 2016.

Just like one year ago, fans continue to show their love and respect for Prince with tokens of love. Paisley Park allowed fans to visit a special commemorative fence inside the grounds on April 3 and April 10.

Deb Nachreiner of Fairfax, Minn., didn’t let a cold rain dampen her desire to pay her respects to Prince’s memory during a visit to Paisley Park on April 10.

”Sometimes it snows in April.” Fans couldn’t help but remember this Prince song when the rain turned to snow on April 10 at Paisley Park.

A fan from Toronto brought this guitar as an expression of love.


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Locals knew him as their celebrity neighbor who kept a low profile. With the exception of his occasional After Dark concerts and dance parties, most residents would hardly know that an internationally revered music artist lived right down the road.

But one year ago, April 21, 2016, the sudden death of Prince Rogers Nelson at Paisley Park put his adopted hometown on the international map.

Within hours of learning the news of his death, the world media descended on Chanhassen. Satellite trucks, film crews, domestic and international reporters and photographers surrounded Paisley Park for days. Chanhassen was on the international radar.

With Celebration 2017 being held this week at Paisley Park, Chanhassen will again be in the spotlight. The four-day event celebrates Prince’s life on the anniversary of his death. Fans from every part of the world will arrive, take in the Paisley Park experience, revel in his music, and mingle in fellowship with other Prince fans.

In last week’s newspaper, we spoke to fans from across the country and overseas. How did Prince impact and influence their lives? What will they remember as his legacy to them?

This week, we’ve come home, to learn what type of legacy Prince and Paisley Park may have for the area.


The date of Prince’s death remains vivid to Jeff Filipek.

“Prince passed away the week I started my new position as president of the SouthWest Metro Chamber of Commerce,” Filipek said by email. “Our office is two blocks from Paisley Park, so we witnessed the amazing pilgrimage of people that came to Paisley Park to pay their respects.

“When the (Chanhassen) City Council was discussing rezoning Paisley Park as a museum, I did an informal survey of some local business owners,” Filipek said. “I talked with hotels, restaurants and other retailers. It quickly became clear that business was up during the trial tour weekends.

“One restaurant owner told me he was up 33 percent on those weekends,” Filipek said. “We continue to get a significant number of calls from people all over the world with the typical question — ‘We are coming to visit Paisley Park; what else is there to do in the area?’

“This provides us a great opportunity to talk about the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, area restaurants, places to shop and stay, etc. Our online member business directory has also seen a spike in traffic.

“We are excited about the relationship we have established with Paisley Park,” Filipek said, “and look forward to continue promoting ‘Minnesota’s Graceland.’”


After Prince’s death, Paisley Park was turned into a museum.

While it caused a slight stir among neighbors, when it finally opened last fall, fears of traffic congestion and general neighborhood disruption became moot. Not that Mr. Nelson and his Paisley Park had ever been a local nuisance.

“While Prince lived in Chanhassen, his role as a citizen was a quiet and subdued presence,” said Chanhassen Mayor Denny Laufenburger. “The community respected him with dignity and distance.

“Upon his death, the city was awakened to his career, his artistry and his genius … primarily because of the international acclaim that was manifested from the visitors and the media,” Laufenburger said. “Now that things have settled down a little, Chanhassen will continue to respect his legacy with respect and acceptance of the tributes that will come from around the region, nation and the world.

“I’m especially pleased with the way the Paisley Park management team has responded to the concerns from both the citizens of Chanhassen and Prince fans,” Laufenburger said. “The comings and goings at Paisley Park have been well managed. I’ve heard no complaints from the local community about the tours and the evening dance parties.

“While we’ve been in a somewhat quiet time over the winter, I believe that the staff and management of Paisley are now well-schooled on how to handle an increasing amount of traffic during the coming warm weather months.

“I’m also pleased with how the folks at Paisley Park have opened up to the Chanhassen business community,” Laufenburger said. “There is clearly a lift in business for Chanhassen hotels, restaurants and shops. I expect even more sharing of activities in the future.

“As for the future, I believe that Paisley Park will continue to be an attraction for the community,” Laufenburger predicts. “Whether it will stand the test of time that the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres and the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum have is yet to be determined. I believe that Prince fans around the world will continue to hold his artistry, and therefore the home and studio from which it was created, in high regard.”


Chanhassen City Manager Todd Gerhardt reflected on Prince’s legacy for the city.

“Prince maintained a low key presence in Chanhassen,” Gerhardt said. “He really enjoyed his privacy and Chanhassen residents were happy to give that to him. People rarely waited by the gate to get a glimpse of Prince or ask for an autograph. The legacy he left was he was a renowned artist that lived in Chanhassen, enjoying his freedom from the glitz and glamour of New York or Los Angeles.”

Asked if Prince made Chanhassen more interesting, Gerhardt replied, “Not until after his passing … we noticed as you call it, a ‘halo effect.’ I have noticed several more out-of-state vehicles that are probably here for a Paisley Park Museum tour.

“We are so proud of Paisley Park and Prince that he was able to accomplish so much as our ‘neighbor’ and we look forward to the ‘celebration of his life’ and what he was able to accomplish as an artist without a lot of fanfare from his Chanhassen neighbors as he created some fantastic music at Paisley Park these past 30 years.

“I hope his legacy will continue in Chanhassen with the museum and all memories we have of him as our neighbor!”

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Reply #1 posted 04/21/17 2:14pm


Thanks for sharing!
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Reply #2 posted 04/21/17 3:56pm


That was a great read, thanks for sharing. Loved how he stayed so faithful to his roots and loved his hometown and didn't have to go "hollywood" and never forgot where he came from.

Love is God, God is love, girls and boys love God above.
RIP Sweet Prince
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