The City Council voted unanimously on Monday on a motion to name the new park being constructed at 701 East Union Street as “Playhouse Village Park” and its stage area as “Van Halen Stage” in honor of the legendary rock band formed in Pasadena in 1972.
The park is scheduled to be completed by summer.
Pasadena city staff had proposed to name the park Octavia Butler Park, in honor of the prize-winning African-American Pasadena science-fiction author.
But during the hearing, Councilmember John Kennedy made a motion to name the park “Playhouse Village Park” instead of Octavia Butler Park.
In raising his motion, Kennedy said naming the park “Playhouse Village Park” is more appropriate.
“It seems to me that the gravitation towards naming the park the Playhouse Village Park is most appropriate. And that is not to suggest that in any way it would diminish from the desires of the community related to Octavia Butler who, by the way, admittedly in the report did not receive the majority of votes.”
In a July 2021 online public survey asking the public for possible park names, after two rounds, responses pointed to two most prominent names: Van Halen guitarist Eddie Van Halen with more than 3,400 votes and Octavia Butler with 526.
Playhouse Village Park and similar variations, including Playhouse Park, got 135 nods, according to the staff report.
The Van Halen family, upon consultation by city staff, requested that the stage area be named in honor of the entire Van Halen band instead of exclusively for Eddie. As a result, the city staff accommodated the request and proceeded to recommend the name “Van Halen Stage” before the City Council.
In making the motion, Kennedy also said that the Butler’s importance to Pasadena has already been honored by the renaming of Washington Middle School.
Last February 24, the Pasadena Unified School District Board of Education unanimously approved the resolution changing the name of Washington Steam Multilingual Academy to Octavia E. Butler Magnet.