The Pasadena City Council has voted unanimously on a motion to name a new city park, Playhouse Village Park and its stage area, the Van Halen Stage in honor of the rock band formed in Pasadena in 1972.

The park at 701 East Union St. is scheduled to be completed by summer. Pasadena city staff had proposed to name the park Octavia Butler Park, in honor of the city’s award-winning African-American science-fiction author.

However, during the hearing Monday, Councilman John Kennedy made a motion to name the park Playhouse Village Park instead of Octavia Butler Park.

“It seems to me that the gravitation towards naming the park the Playhouse Village Park is most appropriate,” Kennedy said. “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 online public survey asking the public for possible park names, responses pointed to two most prominent names: Van Halen guitarist Eddie Van Halen with more than 3,400 votes and Butler with 526, officials said.

Playhouse Village Park and similar variations, including Playhouse Park, got 135 nods, according to the staff report.

The Van Halen family, upon consultation with city staff, requested that the stage area be named in honor of the entire band instead of exclusively for guitarist Eddie Van Halen, who died in October 2020 of cancer at age 65.

As a result of the family’s request, city staff proceeded to recommend the name Van Halen Stage before the city council. 

Butler, a multiple recipient of Hugo and Nebula awards, became the first science-fiction writer to receive a MacArthur Fellowship in 1995. She died in 2006 at the age of 58 after a fall.

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