Lakewood's 'Tree City USA' Tradition Continues | The City of Lakewood, Ohio

Lakewood’s ‘Tree City USA’ Tradition Continues

April 12, 2016

The Arbor Day Foundation has named the city of Lakewood a Tree City USA to honor the city’s “commitment to effective urban forest management.”

This is the 39th consecutive year that Lakewood has received the distinction, the second-longest streak in the state of Ohio.

The Arbor Day Foundation — in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters and the USDA Forest Service — sponsors the Tree City USA program.

“Trees clean the air, shade our homes, provide wildlife habitat, reduce energy costs, beautify our neighborhoods, improve storm water management and increase property values,” said Mayor Michael Summers.

A long-standing Tree City USA award recipient in Northeast Ohio, Lakewood has consistently met the national standards required for the prestigious award.

The four standards of a Tree City USA include:

  • A Tree Board or Department:  Someone must be legally responsible for the care and management of the community’s trees.  This may be a volunteer tree board, a forestry department, or a professional forester or arborist
  • A Tree Care Ordinance:  The tree ordinance must designate the establishment of a tree board or forestry department and give this body the responsibility for writing and implementing an annual community forestry work plan.
  • A Community Forestry Program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita
  • An Arbor Day Observance and Proclamation will take place this year, at a time/date to be determined.

“Exceeding the Tree City USA benchmarks is indicative of our commitment to maximize the economic, environmental, and social benefits that a well-planned, growing and sustainable tree canopy can deliver to the residents of the city of Lakewood,” said Chris Perry, the city’s arborist and projects manager for the city’s Department of Public Works. “The urban forest is a key Lakewood public infrastructure asset as it delivers significant financial and ecological benefits.”

According to the National Arbor Foundation, meeting the four standards for becoming a Tree City USA “tells visitors that here is a community that cares about its environment, and is also an indication to prospective businesses that the quality of life may be better in that community.”

Summers said the city is proud to accept the recognition but added that there is still work ahead.

“A lot of our at-risk trees are in our backyards,” he said. “The city has an opportunity to contribute, but residents and business owners can also help us grow our tree canopy; we’ve all got a role to play.”

Among the city’s goals is to continue to increase the tree canopy to 33.5 percent by 2035.

Started in 1976, the Tree City USA program, sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation, in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters is celebrating its 40th Anniversary this year.

“Tree City USA communities see the impact an urban forest has in a community first hand,” said Dan Lambe, President of the Arbor Day Foundation. “Additionally, recognition brings residents together and creates a sense of community pride, whether it’s through volunteer engagement or public education.”

In the spirit of Tree City USA, please join the city of Lakewood and Keep Lakewood Beautiful Arbor Day and Earth Day Event from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday April 30 at City Center Park to help spruce up the downtown Detroit Avenue commercial district. Residents and volunteers will plant a tree in City Center Park and also mulch trees, large planters and the municipal parking lot bio-retention areas.

Have you been thinking about planting a tree in your yard?

As part of the city’s contract with the Greenleaf Group, residents can contract with the company to buy a shade tree — and have it professionally planted — at the same price the city pays. Mention that you are part of the city’s Shade Tree Purchase Program.

To select a tree and place an order, contact the Greenleaf Group at 330-441-6326 or email greenleafgroup@hotmail.comResidents can purchase a shade tree and have it professionally planted in their desired yard location at the same pricing that the city pays (plus applicable tax).