Bellagio Fountain Trees Removed for F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix Grandstand
The Bellagio, one of the most famed casino resorts on the Las Vegas Strip, has begun removing the longstanding rows of trees outside the venue and infront of its iconic fountains.
This decision was made by the Bellagio’s owners, MGM Resorts International, as the city prepares for the upcoming F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix in November. It will enable MGM to build a viewing platform and grandstand for race spectators, directly in front of the famous fountains.
However, the move has stirred mostly negative reactions from the public.
“This work is part of preparations for the Las Vegas Grand Prix and our efforts to provide the best possible experience through improved visibility, mobility, and pedestrian access and safety,” an MGM spokesperson said this week.
A Grand Prix vs. Grand Trees
The Bellagio fountains, featured among the top most photographed sites in the world, have impressed Las Vegas visitors for decades with daily shows. Many of those watching have taken shade from the Nevada desert sun underneath the trees while they enjoy the spectacle.
Now, at a time when Sin City is battling intense heatwaves each year, some of the last few arboreal holdouts on the Strip are no more.
“I love Formula One, and I want to see the newly paved streets, but removing trees? That really surprised me,” said one visitor, speaking to local news outlet 8NewsNow.
MGM Resorts, the owner of the Bellagio Resort & Casino, confirmed that the tree stumps seen along the lake and Las Vegas Boulevard are just the beginning.
Several more trees are slated for removal in the lead-up to the race. In their place, grandstands are expected to be erected, offering spectators a clear view of the high-speed action.
Trees within the alcoves closest to the fountains will be temporarily stored and are expected to be replanted before New Year’s Eve. However, those closer to Las Vegas Boulevard will be recycled into wood chips, which will then be used in local Southern Nevada parks.
In addition to the tree removal, the preparations for the Grand Prix include the installation of track lighting along the fountain. Track barriers and safety fencing will also be set up around this section of the boulevard, starting from November 5.
The race is expected to bring in moe than a billion in extra revenue for Nevada’s brick & mortar casinos and other businesses over the four-day event. Well-heeled international travelers are set to arrive in the tens of thousands to watch the iconic race series return to Las Vegas, with the world’s best drivers racing at hundreds of miles an hour around the Las Vegas Strip’s famous sights.
However, one such icon, the Bellagio’s much-loved trees, are now gone.
“That just doesn’t seem like it’s productive to our environment, or anyone really,” said one tourist, speaking to local news.
“I just don’t understand why you would do that.”
Race officials and city leaders like Steve Hill of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority are adamant that the weeks of road delays, arguments over views, and now the loss of trees, will be worth the cost for a such a prestigious event.
“It’s the most difficult thing this city has ever done from an event standpoint,” Hill said previously.