Cleveland suburb wants to be the next ‘Forest City’

Wondergrove Drive in suburban Euclid is an urban forester’s dream. While few streets in Euclid offer such a wooded setting as the Brookwood Club area near Lake Erie, more of the suburb’s residential streets and commercial districts could use an increase of trees to provide cooling shade in summer and a windbreak in winter (Google). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM.

Euclid wins federal urban forestry grant

While Cleveland was once called the Forest City due to the tree-studded neighborhoods it boasted in the 19th century, one of its suburbs might be in a position to claim that title in the coming years thanks to a generous grant from the federal government. The benefits of more trees are simple — they help provide cooling shade in summer, a windbreak in winter, and more attractive business districts and residential areas that can increase property values.

The City of Euclid has been awarded a grant of $525,400 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Inflation Reduction Act. The money awarded will be used to fund the completion of an Urban Forestry Master Planning Initiative, help increase community capacity to use urban trees and forests in public space planning, and help fund a public awareness and education campaign to elevate recognition of the value of urban trees and urban forests ecosystems as essential contributors to community sustainability and resilience.

Euclid’s Community Development Manager Ed Chenock wrote the grant application requesting funds for the Urban Forestry Master Planning Initiative after the City received similar grants through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Urban Canopy Restoration Grant program in both 2022 and 2023. Euclid will use part of the funds from this most recent award to complete a citywide tree inventory started in 2021, to prepare a uniform master urban forestry plan, and to hire a full-time urban forester to help carry out the City’s arboricultural initiatives.

“This is a great opportunity for Euclid to continue the efforts to improve our urban forestry program,” Mayor Kirsten Holzheimer Gail said in a written statement. “We are grateful for the support from the USDA Forest Service and are excited to see the positive impact this grant will have on our community.”

Many of Euclid’s residential streets are long and lined with single-family homes. But few are lined with as many mature trees like East 214th Street that provide a cozy and charming tree canopy for residents. A new federal grant could help expand that in the coming years (Google).

The expected accomplishments from these initiatives include a complete citywide tree inventory, a comprehensive urban forestry master plan, and the reinstatement of an office of urban forestry. Euclid plans to partner with Davey Resource Group and the Euclid Shade Tree Commission on these initiatives, further strengthening the city’s efforts to improve its green infrastructure.

“We are awaiting further details from the USDA on the award timeline sometime in early October,” said Christine McIntosh, planning and development coordinator for the city, in an e-mail to NEOtrans. “This will dictate how quickly we are able to begin. We’re very excited about the grant and the opportunities it brings.”

This grant will also help Euclid continue its commitment to sustainability by conserving forests through sustainable management practices, which is essential for maintaining the ecological, economic, and social benefits that forests provide. Euclid seeks to develop an action plan that ensures its management plan is in line with sustainable forest conservation efforts.

“The city of Euclid is thrilled to have been awarded this grant and looks forward to working with its partners to complete the Urban Forestry Master Planning Initiative,” said Christine Vazquez, marketing and communications director for the city. “Euclid is committed to enhancing its green infrastructure and improving the quality of life for its residents and this grant is an important step towards achieving those goals.”


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