Introducing the City of Cleveland’s new Urban Forestry Commission
First meeting of reimagined Tree Commission set for Tuesday, Jan. 24 at 4 p.m.
January 20, 2023 – Cleveland – The City of Cleveland has revived the former “Tree Commission” as the new Urban Forestry Commission (UFC). The UFC will have the authority to develop and recommend policy, work with departments to administer policy changes, and monitor policy implementation in order to maintain and grow Cleveland’s tree canopy.
“Our city’s trees are critical for not only their beauty but for the role they play in mitigating the impacts of air pollution, heat islands, and climate change,” said Mayor Justin M. Bibb. “I am grateful for the work that went into reviving this commission and I thank the members for their commitment to preserving and expanding our tree canopy and to environmental justice and equity.”
Formerly known as the “Tree Commission,” the group was established in the early 1990s and was active for about a decade before it went dormant in the early 2000s. New legislation was introduced in 2021 by Councilmembers Kazy and McCormack to amend and revive the Tree Commission in the Codified Ordinances (chapter 163).
“Cleveland was once known as the Forest City, but our tree canopy has been on the decline for decades,” said Ward 16 Councilman Brian Kazy. “Our goal is to bring the right people together to reduce tree loss and damage, help educate residents about proper care, and foster more tree-related collaboration among city departments.”
A working group was formed consisting of members from the Cleveland Tree Coalition, City Council, and City administration to research best practices, review the legislation, and make recommendations. Changes from the previous commission structure include allowing the administration more appointees, the inclusion of a youth resident as an appointee, and the ability to advise the Mayor and City Council and policy and regulations, an authority missing from the previous legislation.
This new change comes as a recognition of the important role trees play in the urban landscape of the city.
“Trees can reduce ozone from the air, reduce carbon emissions, lower energy costs, provide storm water mitigation, and improve water quality,” said Cleveland’s Director of Sustainability & Climate Justice Sarah O’Keeffe. “Trees also increase property values and make neighborhoods more desirable.”
The inaugural meeting of the new UFC will be held at City Hall on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023, at 4 p.m. in room 514. Remote participation will also be available.
The new UFC consists of 15 members, eight appointed by Mayor Bibb and seven by Cleveland City Council, including Councilmember Jenny Spencer. More information and a list of UFC members is available here: City of Cleveland Urban Forestry Commission - Sustainable Cleveland
The UFC is currently seeking a Youth Resident appointment, open to Cleveland residents aged 11-17 by parental permission. Please email Urban Forestry Manager, Jennifer Kipp at email@example.com or call (216) 664-2388 to apply.
Urban Forestry Commission - Public Meeting
Tuesday, January 24th 4-5 p.m.
City Hall, 5th floor, Room 514
601 Lakeside Ave E, Cleveland, OH 44114