More changes coming to downtown ahead of NFL draft

Posted at 7:14 AM, Apr 02, 2019

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Changes are coming to downtown Nashville so a temporary stage can be built for the NFL Draft.

Ten cherry blossoms, the Hard Rock Cafe Guitar, street lights, railing, street signs... all have to go!

The Nashville Tree Foundation executive director fears the cherry blossoms won't survive being transplanted.

Carolyn Sorenson said, "Any tree removal of this sort for a 48 hour event is very shortsighted."

Originally the city said 21 trees would be removed, but the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corps changed the plan after public uproar this weekend.

Sorenson said, "We hope to work positively in the future with other groups towards more transparency so we won't be faced with this again."

A Tennessee master gardener who works at the Gardens of Babylon said if it's done right, the trees will survive.

Neil Anderson said, "People can be optimistic, they will probably go into shock, they will probably defoliate or lose their leaves, but I doubt that they'll all die, we may lose 1 or 2 of the 10 that they're transplanting, but I would imagine that most of them would survive."

Since the trees are blooming, and not dormant, it's higher risk.

Anderson said, "And as long as the root balls don't get broken, and damage the root hairs, and they keep that soil moist, they conceivably would be able to put them back in the same spot."

For tree huggers, that's not the solution. They want the NFL draft to work around the cherry blossoms.

Sorenson said, "We want to put on a good face to the public when this event comes and we hope that the trees are in the background."

It's unclear when the cherry blossoms will be removed, but roads downtown will be closed starting April 5th so they can build this stage.

Organizers said all of the removed items will be replaced after the draft.

According to the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corps, the NFL or the Visitors Corps is paying for everything. The visitors corps has raised over $3 million for the event.

The NFL draft brought in more than $125 million for the city of Dallas last year.