Results of the Cleveland Beautification Survey were compiled during the late summer and fall of 2010 from 442 responses to an online survey made available to residents.
“What jumped out to me was the number of people who cared about not just the trees, but the environment as a whole as well,” said Dan Hartman, urban forester for the city of Cleveland.
The survey addressed residents’ concerns on subjects such as the amount of trees in public areas, the value of trees in the city, and development of public spaces.
“It was a project that we did because we wanted to be aware of what people thought,” said Janice Cheek, a member of the Cleveland Tree Board.
One of the most important parts of the survey was a section at the end that allowed participants to share any comments they wanted, Cheek said.
“That was very enlightening,” Cheek said. “That is what we find most interesting.”
Participants’ comments ranged from simple statements like “I love trees” to strong criticism about utilities and construction projects.
The board has already shared the survey’s results with Cleveland’s chapter of Keep America Beautiful and hopes to share it with other groups such as the Cleveland City Council and the Bradley County Commission.
With the state of Tennessee’s observance of Arbor Day on March 4, the Cleveland Tree Board is preparing to host the state’s official celebration.
“We were named State Tree Board of the Year,” Cheek said. “One of the perks is hosting the state meeting. We are very proud to be able to host it.”
The Cleveland Tree Board was voted Tree Board of the Year because of its efforts to educate the public on environmental issues, Hartman said.
“Education is a big part of it,” he added. “It’s nice to see them being shown attention for it.”
The board is responsible for various projects to add more flora around Cleveland. The latest is a “beautification” of 25th Street that is “on the books to start soon,” Cheek said.
The main part of the project will involve adding new plant life to the median in 25th Street, said Hartman. The project will be done in three phases, the first set to take place along the stretch of 25th Street that runs from Keith Street to Peerless Road.
“It will not be just grass,” Hartman said. “There will be more of a corridor as you come into town by that exit (Interstate 75 Exit 25). I think it will really improve the look.”
Plants like crepe myrtle trees, knockout roses and day lilies are some that may be added.
The community has the Cleveland Tree Board to thank for projects that attempt to make the city more attractive to residents and visitors, Hartman said.
“It’s great to see that people will give up their time to better the community,” Hartman said.