Mayor's Corner: Tree City U.S.A
There are many things that make Lakewood special, but one of my personal favorites – and something many of you often talk to me about – is our wonderful tree canopy. For a city as dense and developed as ours, we also have a spectacular amount and diversity of trees within Lakewood. Our trees add beauty and make our city more inviting, but they also keep our air clean, keep Lakewood cooler on hot days, and address stormwater and weather events. They are truly an immense asset to us all.
With this in mind, I have made it a priority at City Hall to focus on the continued health and future growth of Lakewood’s tree canopy. Our Forestry Division has a Tree Action Plan that is regularly updated to allow us to act swiftly to leverage opportunities for new trees while addressing threats to our existing trees. This year, we also strategically staffed the Forestry Division to increase our capacity to care for the more than 13,000 trees in our parks and on our treelawns.
One of our current areas of focus is ensuring that the tree presence in our parks is maintained and expanded. You can see this at Madison Park, where four mature trees were planted recently. The goal is for these trees to grow to large scale and provide a century or more of value to the community.
Of particular importance presently are our efforts at Lakewood Park, where our annual inspection showed that a number of our mature trees around the Kids Cove playground were damaged years ago during construction and some must be removed. In partnership with our staff and experts, I have made it a priority to replace those trees with mature trees that will grow to the same stature. Our experts tell us that most of the trees around Kids Cove should be able to survive the damage they suffered years ago with the proper care – things like root invigoration treatment and careful pruning of dead limbs. Rest assured, we are making the investment in these remedial measures.
Our tree plan does not just focus on parks or treelawns. We know that our homeowners have a large role to play too, and we have a program in place where you can have a tree (or trees!) professionally planted in your yard each spring by a professional at below market cost. Our contracted professionals use ODNR Division of Forestry and Ohio Nursery and Landscape Association approved methods, and all trees come with a one-year warranty. I encourage any of you interested in this opportunity to reach out to the Division of Forestry at 216-529-6810. Our tree plan aspires to meet (and hopefully exceed) a recommended canopy coverage of 33% in the next 12 years. We need your help to achieve this important goal.
A big thank you also goes out to our Tree Advisory and Education Board. This group is charged with collaborating with City of Lakewood officials regarding urban tree policies and practices, promoting our tree programs and educating residents on responsible tree stewardship and the benefits of tree planting on private property. Their guidance has been invaluable as we continue to update and adjust our tree plan to meet the changing needs of Lakewood’s trees.
Lakewood is proud to have held a Tree City USA designation for over four decades. Working together, let’s keep that moniker and build on our tradition as a city that loves, cares for, and enjoys our beautiful trees.