PICO RIVERA, Calif. (CNS) — A street leading into the Pico Rivera Sports Arena has been was renamed “Avenida Vicente Fernández” in honor of the late Mexican ranchera and mariachi singer who died last year at age 81 and who frequently performed at the venue.
Friday’s ceremony was the second in recent months to rename a street after Fernández — an international star who, over six decades, won three Grammy Awards, nine Latin Grammys and 14 Lo Nuestro Awards. He also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and sold more than 50 million albums worldwide.
In February, the Los Angeles City Council voted to rename a Boyle Heights street, east of Mariachi Plaza, after Fernández, who died Dec. 12.
The renaming ceremony in Pico Rivera — which included a sign unveiling — took place at the corner of Rooks Road and what, until now, had been known as Sports Arena Drive.
The newly minted Avenida Vicente Fernández is the primary entrance road to the 5,000- to 6,200-seat arena, where the singer, nicknamed “El Chente,” performed numerous times, donning his trademark charro outfit and wide sombrero, always drawing thousands.
“The city of Pico Rivera is honored to pay tribute to this legendary singer and international star with this street renaming,” Mayor Monica Sanchez said during the ceremonies, which were attended by more than 170 people, including fans and local dignitaries.
Vicente Fernández Jr., the singer’s eldest child, and the younger Fernández’s wife, Mariana, also flew in from Mexico to join Friday’s festivities.
“With Vicente Fernández performing numerous shows at the Pico Rivera Sports Arena, we as the City Council felt it was appropriate to honor Vicente with his own street that leads to the very venue where he performed countless times for thousands of loyal fans,” Sanchez added.
Councilman Gustavo Camacho had originated the idea of honoring Fernández — traveling with a delegation to Mexico in 2019 to meet with the musician. Fernández approved the idea but died before the city could act. Following Fernández’s death, Camacho introduced a motion to rename the street, and it passed on May 10, 2022.
“Knowing of his popularity with the residents of Pico Rivera, the region and his direct connection with the city via his numerous performances at the Pico Rivera Sports Arena, it made sense to honor this renowned artist and singer,” Camacho said.
Also on hand Friday were Rep. Linda Sanchez and state Sen. Bob Archuleta.
In February, the LA City Council approved renaming Bailey Street, from First Street to Pennsylvania Avenue in Boyle Heights, as “Vicente Fernández Street.”
But the move did not come without opposition.
David Silvas, the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council’s vice president and chair of its Planning and Land Use Committee, submitted a letter to the City Council’s Public Works Committee to oppose the motion, citing a comment Fernández made during an interview in which he said he refused a liver transplant because he didn’t know if the donor was homosexual or addicted to drugs.
Silvas also noted reports of Fernández being accused of inappropriately touching women.
In his letter, Silvas said naming the street for Fernández would be “insulting and denigrating to the LGBTQ+ community and anyone facing the struggles of addiction” as well as “victims of sexual abuse.”
Fernández retired from the stage in 2016. He died in Guadalajara, Mexico, where he was also born. His death followed months of health issues and an Aug. 2021 injury at his ranch in Guadalajara.