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Criticism lingers over plan to move Cherry Blossom trees for NFL draft stage

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) - The plan to move nine cherry blossom trees is still receiving criticism from tree advocates who believe the trees won't survive. 

"Anytime you transplant a tree in the growing stage it's going to be very hard for it to survive," said Carolyn Sorenson with the Nashville Tree Foundation. 

She points out that the trees that will be moved are already beginning to bloom. 

The controversy began Friday when the Nashville Tree Foundation learned that 21 cherry blossom trees would be cut down to make room for the NFL Draft stage. 

The discovery sparked outrage and an online petition garnered thousands of signatures. 

On Saturday, Mayor Briley announced the NFL and Nashville Convention and Visitor's Corp (NCVC) would pay to dig up the trees and replant them elsewhere. 

On Sunday, the NCVC's Butch Spyridon apologized for the perceived lack of transparency. He also said that they had to disturb fewer trees than originally thought, bringing the total number of trees that will be moved to nine. 

"Anyone who knows anything about trees knows that it's the most dangerous time to move them," said Sizwe Herring from Earth Matters Tennessee. "We stand with these trees. If we have to stand here with them when they plan to pull them out, we will do that." 

Metro originally said it had to "weigh the decision to save the trees against the economic impact of the event." 

The NFL Draft is expected to generate $3 million in tax revenue and over $100 million in visitor spending. 

The stage is massive and is said to be the largest ever in Tennessee or even the country. 

However, some wonder where the money will go; to the businesses downtown or to city needs, like teacher and officer pay. 

"The trees are the tip of the iceberg," said Herring. "We see what's happening in Nashville and this is just continuing with that same root of 'let's do whatever we can for tourists, for conventions and leave the small man behind.'" 

The trees will be removed Tuesday morning. 


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