Stop the Removal of 21 Cherry Blossom Trees for NFL Event
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Twenty-one beautiful cherry blossom trees that are located in a park in prime time downtown Nashville are scheduled to be removed this Monday morning for the NFL’s event. These trees line 1st Avenue along Riverfront Park. The tree community was only given this information on Friday, March 29th... we were only given two days notice that a decision had been previously made.
We have been supplied this information from the organization and groups that have funded the park’s trees, the same group that funded the memorial tree trail downtown arboretum for the late Betty Brown.
In the midst of our city still considering selling a downtown park to development, in the midst of our city handing unprecedented amounts of tax breaks to private businesses while our budget sputters near bankrupt, the city needs to stop allowing private interests to supersede the public’s interest. This city needs to stop making covert decisions that are only disclosed to the public a couple days before an action like this is taken, we demand transparency and more time to review such proposals.
The city is developing a track record of outrageous negligence with handling our public trees starting with Ft. Negley’s miscommunication that lead to it being clear cut without any public notice, to Cleveland Park’s illegal removal of a large sugar maple that coincidently cleared the view of downtown’s skyline for a new set of duplexes being built next to it... and now this...
FT NEGLEY TREE STORY:
CLEVELAND PARK ILLEGAL TREE REMOVAL:
If we can’t save these trees by stopping their removal for this event, then at least ask for adequate compensation. Executive Order 40 requires the city to exceed tree planting and replacement standards on public property; $10,000 is a absurdly low, not even 1-1” caliper replacement cost for trees of this size and in this downtown location. If a corporate interest desires to remove our trees and take advantage of our public property, then the city should require that this abnormal request and burden to public livability infrastructure be generously compensated with a tree replacement ratio of at least 4:1. Proposed compensation does not cover what is lost. Earlier this year, the city passed an SP for a Green Hill’s property that required a 4-1” caliper replacement schedule, it’s in stark contrast to what the city agreed with the multi-billion dollar NFL enterprise to deface our public park for private gain.
HERE ARE THE FACTS THAT WE KNOW SO FAR:
-21 trees ranging from 2-6” in caliper will be removed
-Tree removal will commence Monday morning, April 1st, 2019... I wish this was an April fool’s joke...
-Trees will be removed to make room for an NFL event which will only last a couple days. Musicians and corporate sponsors will he placed on top of these 21 fallen beautiful trees.
-NFL offered apparently agreed to pay $10,000 for replacement of these trees which is about (probably less than) 1x1” caliper replacement. This is far below industry standard. Typically trees are replaced at a minimum of 2x1” replacement due to mortality rate compensation.
-To give an example of tree replacement scheme in Nashville that is already set precedent, Monroe Harding’s SP requires private builders to replace at a 4x1” caliper replacement scheme. This requirement on private property is in stark contrast to what the city is allowing on public property.
-This goes against every aspect of the Executive Order 40 https://www.nashville.gov/Metro-Clerk/Legal-Resources/Executive-Orders/Mayor-Megan-Barry/mb040.aspx
-We can find no mention of this in any of the metro parks agenda topics or minutes
-Metro Tree Advisory Committee nor any tree organization was notified of this; the tree community was notified of a decision that had been previously made on Friday, March 29th, 2019.
-It is unclear how many of what size tree will be removed with these 21 trees. There really is no replacing the larger trees (6” caliper) which have matured in this spot with trees of the same size because larger trees have a much higher mortality rate. Smaller trees would have to replace them which will take about 5-10 years to grow back to medium size.
-This uncertainty also makes it difficult to determine at what rate they are replacing these trees. Replacment value of 21, 6” caliper trees would cost over $22,000 while 21, 2” caliper trees will cost $8,000. (1 Tree Density Unit for the city = 4” caliper tree = $725 in replacment value) this is metro rate value; this does not take into consideration the unique challenges of planting 21 trees in this area; in other words, it’s low.
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