Despite the Metro Council’s wishes, this year’s city Christmas tree will be the old-fashioned variety –– the kind that’s chopped down, hoisted up and removed after the holiday season.
In August, the council approved a non-binding memorializing resolution asking the Metro Department of Parks and Recreation to plant a live evergreen at the downtown Public Square that could be decorated annually and used as the city’s official Christmas tree. That isn’t going to happen, however.
“We are not,” said Tommy Lynch, the parks department’s interim director. “We’re going to –– at least this year –– use the same type of process that we’ve used in the past.”
Councilwoman Karen Bennett, the resolution’s sponsor, had said the request was part of an effort to be “a little bit greener as a city.” A live, planted evergreen could be “decorated for years to come without harming the environment,” the resolution reads.
But Lynch said there’s only one area –– not prominently located –– where a tree could be planted at the Public Square, which sits atop a parking garage and serves as the front entrance to the Metro Courthouse.
“The Christmas tree is a symbolic gesture,” Lynch said, adding it makes the most sense to erect the tree at its traditional location, which is visible on heavily trafficked Second Avenue. “That spot was designed with braces and brackets to accommodate a tree.”
During its Christmas tree search, Lynch said the parks department considers only trees that property owners “want to have cut down or need to be cut down.” He said this year’s tree, which Metro receives free, would likely be cut down Friday or Monday and erected after Thanksgiving. Nashville Electric Service donates a crane to help decorate the tree.
Lynch said there could be more consideration given to Bennett’s resolution in the coming years.
Bennett, who represents parts of Inglewood on the council, could not be reached for comment.
But Councilman Mike Jameson, known for his environmental stripes, called the parks department’s decision, disappointing.
“It’s a small measure, but it would have set an enormous example for the city, especially when we’re trying to increase the tree canopy downtown and throughout Nashville,” Jameson said. “The holiday spirit is about caring for others, and what better way to do that than start with the planet?
“We may find ourselves on Santa’s naughty list this year,” he added. “But people are gradually adopting sustainable options in multiple aspects of their lives — including Christmas trees. So we’ll get there someday.”