The mayor of Nashville has stepped in to stop a plan to cut down 21 cherry trees to make room for the outdoor stage for the NFL draft.
“After hearing the public response over the planned cutting of 21 of the 68 ornamental cherry trees at Riverfront Park, I informed the NFL and Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp. that they will have to remove them intact and replant them in our city,” Mayor David Briley wrote on Twitter. “The NCVC and NFL will replace the removed trees with 21 new ones, and will also plant 17 more at Riverfront Park in previously vacant and new locations. The NCVC will pay for the relocation and for any sidewalk damage. The NCVC and NFL have also agreed to plant an additional 200 cherry trees—for a total of 238 planted—across the city at fire halls, libraries, parks and in other places to continue to honor our relationship with Japan and long-time partnership with the Cherry Blossom Festival. Due to the change of plans at Riverfront Park, nothing will happen on Monday.”
The idea to chop down trees was never a smart one. Although the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation was overseeing the logistics and probably deserves the bulk of the blame, the NFL should have known that the takeaway from many in Nashville would be, “The NFL is coming to town and chopping down our trees.” The league has made the draft a traveling road show because it wants to attract more fans to its biggest offseason event, and anything that gives the NFL bad PR is unwise.