Recently, the city of Nashville, Tennessee, announced its plan to cut down 21 of 68 historic cherry trees that would be in the way of the NFL’s draft stage leading up to April’s NFL Draft event. The irony behind this announcement is the upcoming Cherry Blossom Festival the city will hold on April 13. The draft is taking place two weeks after on April 25 to the 27. They had planned to cut down the trees on April 1 but due to a challenge from the public the plans have changed.
After a petition which consisted of 20,000 signatures, Mayor Briley of Nashville made a statement that they will be removing the trees and replanting them elsewhere, instead of cutting the trees down. Last year, the NFL Draft in Arlington, Texas, had over 420,000 people apply for tickets to attend the event. Due to the size of the crowd, the NFL Draft will have a 400 foot structure and will be paying the city $10,000 for the removal of the trees for the structure to fit.
“Incredibly short-sighted,” Noni Nielsen, president of the Nashville Tree Foundation, stated in response to the city’s decision of removing the trees for an event that will only last a couple days.
If the trees are unhealthy, they promised to replace the unhealthy trees with new ones to make sure the environment is replenished. Some people are arguing the trees will not grow to full maturity for many years, stunting the beauty of the park. The NFL and Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp announced that they will each plant 100 trees in the Metro Parks.
As this event has been tradition for the NFL since 1936, many cities desire to host the event due to the large tourism possibilities and economic impact, since the first traveling Draft in 2015 in Chicago. The 2017 Draft in Philadelphia projected $56.1 million through hotels, restaurants, shops, bars, etc. For instance, the last round of draft ticket packages being sold are starting at $499 in Nashville. There are 20 teams that are competing to hold the event in their city within the next five years. Nashville continues to support the event of the NFL Draft but wished the plan was more transparent to understand the consequences of what would happen to the environment.
Sources: ESPN, 247sports.com, NFL.com