Nashville To Cut Down Iconic Cherry Blossom Trees To Make Way For NFL Draft Stage

The move is necessary for the draft, but many residents are not happy about it.

Blooming cherry blossom trees are seen in the streets of the historic district.
Andreas Rentz / Getty Images

The move is necessary for the draft, but many residents are not happy about it.

Ever since the NFL Draft began moving around the country a few years ago, it has brought about a number of different looks. For 2019, the NFL is taking the collegiate draft to Nashville, Tennessee, where many young men will find out where their football futures will take them. Unfortunately, the stage for the draft is calling for numerous cherry blossom trees to be removed and the residents are not happy about it.

According to Pro Football Talk, 21 mature cherry trees will need to be cut down from the public land in downtown Nashville, and this will happen very soon. The trees need to be removed in order for the massive stage of the NFL Draft and other preparations, but it’s a rather poor time for this to happen.

The 2019 NFL Draft is scheduled for April 25-27, but the removal of the trees is set for Monday at 9 a.m. This comes just a couple of weeks before the start of the annual Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival, which is on April 13, and always features a street lined with cherry blossom trees which festival-goers can walk along the downtown riverfront.

Now, almost two dozen of those trees will be missing and there are many who simply aren’t happy about it.

While a number of Nashville residents have spoken out against the removal of the cherry blossom trees, others are now joining the fight. Noni Nielsen is the president of the Nashville Tree Foundation Board and she states that this “incredibly short-sighted” move is not necessary for an event that will only run for a few days.

“I’m sure many will say that 21 cherry trees are not material in ‘the grand scheme of things,’ and we can and should have that discussion. But this feels like an inflection point for our city. Are we genuinely committed to a sustainable, livable Nashville? If so, what does that look like in practice?”

Ten of the trees being removed are located at the Court of Flags at the foot of Broadway and First Avenue. The other 11 trees border a walkway that begins at Broadway and goes up First Avenue North. The 21 trees that are being removed are among a grand total of 68 trees which have been in the planted area of Nashville.

The removal of the cherry blossom trees is being paid for by the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp., as well as the NFL. Numerous residents, council members, and activist groups have spoken out against the removal of the trees, but it’s difficult for the city of Nashville to ignore the estimated $125 million in revenue that the NFL Draft should bring in.