Michigan lawmaker proposes renaming part of highway after Aretha Franklin

NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 19: Aretha Franklin performs onstage during the “Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives” Premiere Concert during the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival at Radio City Music Hall on April 19, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)


Detroit just can’t get enough of showing its love for legendary “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin, who died in August at age 76 from pancreatic cancer.

Officials already have announced they will name the Chene Park outdoor concert venue after its favorite daughter. Now, officials are floating an idea to name a local highway after Franklin, the Associated Press is reporting.

Michigan state Rep. Fred Durhal III, a Democrat, is proposing to name a portion of the Lodge Freeway for the singer. The highway right now is named for a former Detroit mayor and connects into downtown Detroit.

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The section Durhal is proposing be renamed would stretch from 8 Mile Road to Internatate 94, which connects Detroit to Chicago. The stretch of the freeway is near the church of Franklin’s late father, the Rev. C.L. Franklin, who headed New Bethel Baptist Church.

Durhal’s measure now has 80 cosponsors signed on and could be reviewed by the Michigan state legislature before it adjourns late this year.

In June of 2017, the Detroit City Council approved the renaming of a downtown street Aretha Franklin Way. Franklin, then 75, thanked the council and in responding to the honor, recalled her days skating at the Arcadia Ballroom in the area and singing at the Flame Show Bar, the AP reported.

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In September, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announced that Chene Park, which sits on the Detroit River across from Windsor, Ontario, would be named after Franklin.

The park is known for its outdoor stage and concerts in the summer. Franklin performed at Chene Park in 2015 in celebration of the park’s 30th anniversary.

The American Music Awards just announced its show will include an all-star tribute to Franklin. The performance will include Gladys Knight, CeCe Winans, Ledisi, Mary Mary and Donnie McClurkin in a production put on my Rickey Minor, music director. The group will honor Franklin’s gospel roots and her album Amazing Grace.