Cleveland gets Tree City USA: It’s No. 21 Mayor announces NAF’s recognition
by JOYANNA LOVE Banner Senior Staff Writer
Mar 24, 2014 | 908 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The National Arbor Foundation has recognized Cleveland as a Tree City USA for the 21st consecutive year.

“Everyone benefits when we work together to bring shade to our streets, homes and to beautify our neighborhoods,” Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland said.

“Planting and maintaining trees benefits the beauty of the area, but also has numerous economic, social and environmental benefits,” Rowland said.

The mayor pointed out the city of Cleveland “has earned the recognition by meeting the Arbor Foundation’s four requirements: a tree board or department, a tree care ordinance, an annual community forestry budget that reflects at least $2 per capita and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.”

Urban Forester Dan Hartman said the foundation looks at the work in the areas of urban forestry for the previous year. The deadline for application is Dec. 31 each year.

To apply, a city submits a copy of the city ordinance establishing a Shade Tree Board, a copy of the budget and information on the tree-related activities for the past year. Documentation of the city’s annual Arbor Day recognition is also included.

“As a forester I think [following this award’s guidelines] is critical. You need to protect what you have to try to grow and replace for future generations. Some of the large trees in town, if somebody 100 years ago hadn’t planted it, we wouldn’t have it now,” Hartman said.

He said he is glad to work in a community where people value such recognition and the beautification and shade benefits that trees bring.

“In addition to our Tree City USA designation,” Rowland said, “the city also received a Growth Award for demonstrating environmental improvement and higher levels of tree care. This is due to the hard work by our urban forester, Dan Hartman, and our dedicated Tree Board, chaired by Janice Cheek.”

The Shade Tree Board serves as an advisory committee for the urban forestry division. It also tries to educate the public on the best time and location to plant trees.

Arbor Day Foundation founder John Rosenow congratulated Cleveland in a recent press release and recognized “elected officials, volunteers and committed citizens who work together in communities like Cleveland to make smart investments in urban forests.”

“Cleaner air, improved storm water management, energy savings and increased property values, along with commercial activity are just a few of the benefits by Tree City USA communities,” Rosenow noted in a press release.

The forestry budget is spent on trimming trees, community education and planting trees.

“Plant the right tree in the right place, first of all. You don’t plant a large shade tree underneath power lines,” Hartman said.

This work is done by the urban forestry division.

Community education includes helping people in the community as they plan what trees to plant where, Hartman said.

Hartman said being a Tree City USA also shows those outside the community the city’s commitment to the environment and the overall look of the city. He said this is beneficial when people are considering relocating here.