State Representative John Ray Clemmons, who is Running to be the next Mayor of Nashville, said Saturday the decision by Mayor Briley’s administration to allow the removal and destruction of over 21 cherry blossom trees to accommodate the NFL Draft event in downtown Nashville displayed ‘cultural incompetence.’
A statement from Clemmons’ read, in part:
“this transaction displays a new level of cultural incompetence by this administration, as we prepare to celebrate our city and state’s relationship with the country of Japan over the next two weeks, culminating with the Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival on Saturday, April 13”
The full statement is below:
“Nashville isn’t just a city for bachelorettes & billionaires. While I understand the value of the NFL Draft, we must have a real conversation about our values, as this mayor has now made it clear that nothing in our city is protected and everything is for sale. People who live in Nashville love its character and charm — including its cherry blossom trees. The shortsighted decision by the mayor to clearcut 21 cherry blossom trees at Riverfront Park is yet another example of a lack of strong leadership and an alarming willingness to roll over and erase part of our city’s character. Nashville has also had as many as ten stages in Downtown for CMA Fest, which makes this decision and the need to remove the trees even more perplexing.
“Nashville cannot forget the contributions of Ms. Betty Brown. The Betty Brown Tree Trail and Arboretum in her honor opened in conjunction with the newly developed Riverfront Park and Ascend Amphitheater in 2015. These trees are a part of our Metro Parks system, yet no formal action was taken by the Parks board. This is yet another example of a backroom deal being cut at the expense of a Nashville neighborhood. Also, this transaction displays a new level of cultural incompetence by this administration, as we prepare to celebrate our city and state’s relationship with the country of Japan over the next two weeks, culminating with the Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival on Saturday, April 13.
“Nashville needs a mayor who can say ‘No’ and who cares more about our city’s people, character, and history — instead of a mayor who prioritizes cutting backroom deals & cherry blossom trees. The lack of transparency and forethought by Metro on this matter is more than just irritating. It’s disturbing.”