MGM Resorts, the proprietor of the Bellagio, has commenced the removal of a cherished avenue of shade trees that border the casino resort’s Las Vegas Strip sidewalk. The decision, motivated by the necessity to construct a grandstand for the impending Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix race, scheduled for November 16-18.
The trees of interest, cherished for providing shade to the hundreds of thousands of tourists annually attracted to the spectacle of the Bellagio fountains, are destined for woodchipping. In communication with KLAS-TV, an MGM representative detailed that while some trees closest to the river would be temporarily stored and reintroduced before New Year’s Eve, those covering the Las Vegas Boulevard are earmarked for the woodchipper.
Unique to the Las Vegas landscape, these 25 trees are part of one of the only tree-clad sections of the Strip. Crucial in providing respite from the harsh desert sun, these trees have served visitors viewing the Bellagio fountain show since its inception 25 years ago.
When MGM unveiled its grandstand designs for the F1 race last November, it became clear that the existing Bellagio fountain trees would have to meet their demise to make room for the construction project.
At the time, fears were allayed by promises made by an MGM Resorts spokesperson to Travelzork, assuring the temporary and safe removal of the trees bordering the Bellagio fountains. However, the recent outcries on social media suggest a stark deviation from these initial assurances.
The public was quick to voice their disdain with an incensed Vegas Steve tweeting, “Bellagio is not carefully removing the trees. They are cutting them down. These trees have been there for 25 years. Why not remove them by the roots and replant them somewhere else? Shame on you, Bellagio.”
Twitter user, @JackieF1nut, expressed, “This is awful. As an F1 fan, all I can say is that I’m sorry FOM (Formula One Management) is destroying half of the Strip for a 3-day event. It makes a mockery of all their sustainability aims.”
In response to the backlash, MGM defended their decision to KLAS-TV, stating that their tree-cutting initiative was core to the preparations for the Grand Prix. They asserted that their decision to enhance the visibility, mobility, pedestrian access, and safety was driven by their relentless pursuit to offer the best possible experience.