City leaders reassure Nashville amid plans to remove downtown cherry trees

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – City leaders have responded to public outcry after plans were unveiled to remove cherry trees in downtown Nashville to make way for NFL Draft festivities. 

Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp President Butch Spyridon apologized to the public Sunday for any miscommunication involving the removal of the trees to accomodate a large stage and a 400 foot structure along the river. 

He said the NCVC did not do a good enough job communicating plans of building the expansive NFL Draft stage and added experts will be in place to make certain the trees are taken care of.  

“We’re gonna bring in the best experts we can and have professionals remove the trees and do everything we can to preserve them. Certainly there is the opportunity some trauma will happen with the trees, we will replace them if it does, we’ll find the biggest trees we can. I’ve gotta leave it in the hands of the experts,” said Spyridon.  

POLL: Do you agree with city’s new plan to remove the cherry blossom trees intact and replant them?

More than 50,000 people signed an online petition urging Nashville Mayor David Briley to intervene to stop the removal of the trees. 

“We listen to the folks that live here, Nashville does care a lot about how it looks downtown.  At the end of the day, we’re going to have a great event with the draft, and then the Riverfront Park is gonna be even nicer, with more trees at the end of the day,” said Nashville Mayor David Briley.  

More than 20 cherry blossom trees were going to be removed along First Avenue in Nashville Monday, ahead of the upcoming NFL Draft. 

The plans were to remove the trees Monday morning from Riverfront Park. The trees would have been turned into mulch and used on trails in Metro Parks.

In a statement to News 2, Board President Noni Nielson said, “It seems incredibly short-sighted to cut down trees that took 15+ years to grow for the convenience of a one-time, 48-hour event.”

Donations from the NFL and NCVC will increase the number of cherry trees in Nashville by more than 200. 

Mayor Briley said no action will be taken to remove the trees Monday. 

MORE: Nashville leaders change, clarify plans to remove cherry blossom trees

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