Royal Oak school board gives unanimous support for Glenn Frey Drive

By: Victoria Mitchell | Royal Oak Review | Published February 17, 2016

Photo by s_bukley/


ROYAL OAK — A special ceremony is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Feb. 18 at Royal Oak Middle School to acknowledge the naming of Glenn Frey Drive as a tribute to the late musician and resident.

A portion of Willis Avenue running along the south side of Royal Oak Middle School — the former Dondero High School — will be changed to Glenn Frey Drive following unanimous approval by the Royal Oak Schools Board of Education Feb. 11. The district owns the portion of roadway to be rededicated, and that portion of roadway does not include any addresses that would need changing.

Frey was a 1966 graduate of Dondero High School and most widely known as a member of the rock ‘n’ roll band the Eagles. He also enjoyed a successful solo career before his Jan. 18 death at 67 due to multiple health complications.

During the meeting, Board of Education President Gary Briggs said he was excited about the initiative.

“It’s a great tribute, and I think it is something that I think kids in our community can look at and see that when you work hard and go after your goals, you can accomplish them,” he said. “And I think that is a great example to set in our community and (it is) what Glenn Frey did here.”

Board of Education Secretary Jeff Brinker read from a resolution that stated, “The Royal Oak Board of Education recognizes the importance for students today … of knowing that others from our community have taken risks in pursuit of dreams to achieve worldwide success.”

The idea to create a Glenn Frey Drive in the city originated from Jim O’Brien, morning show co-host on 94.7 WCSX-FM in Detroit. O’Brien attended the Board of Education meeting to show his support and thank the board for considering the notion.

“The idea of Glenn Frey Drive, when we put it on our social media accounts, reached worldwide,” he told the board. “We had people from Japan, Norway, everywhere talking about it, and it all came back to Dondero High School.”

While at Dondero, Frey played trumpet in the marching band, studied keyboard and was in his own band, the Subterraneans. Frey was inducted into the Royal Oak High School Hall of Fame in 1996. During his career, Frey won six Grammy awards and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.

“The music program at Dondero and what Royal Oak public education did for Glenn resonated throughout the world,” O’Brien said. “Over 100 million albums sold by the Eagles, and really what you guys are doing tonight is appreciated by people not only all over the Motor City, but all over the world.”

Mayor Jim Ellison also showed his support for the street name change during the meeting last week.

“This is the kind of event — this is the kind of thing — that we do in this community that makes us very, very special,” he said. 

Ellison said the entire initiative took about two days because of the cooperation of everyone involved.

“It really is building up the excitement, and it’s right here in our city, right next to the school that Glenn Frey went to, and I don’t think we could come up with a better tribute to one of our most famous residents than what we’re doing tonight, and I thank you for your support on this,” he told the board.