Cleveland Shade Tree board works to preserve
by Dan Hartman, Urban forester and assistant director of Parks & Recreation
Apr 28, 2013 | 573 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I want to introduce you to a group of volunteers devoted to maintaining the trees of Cleveland. These volunteers make up the Cleveland Shade Tree Board, or CSTB, and are composed of nine members, appointed by the mayor and approved by the City Council.

Members must be residents of the city. Three are at-large members and six are mandatory members.

The current members of the Cleveland Shade Tree Board are Janice Cheek, chairperson, member at large; Amy Banks, member at large; Matthew Coleman, member at large; Jo Benjamin, Mainstreet Cleveland representative; Dennis Epperson, Builder’s Association representative; Tom Wheeler, Cleveland Utilities representative; Tim Henderson, Cleveland Planning Committee representative; George Poe, City Council representative; Jeff Morelock, Bradley County Commission representative; and John Thomas, consultant, CSTB ex-officio representative.

The CSTB is responsible for carrying out the rules outlined in the Shade Tree Ordinance, as well as the following:

• Encourage the planting of trees within the city of Cleveland

• Encourage the maintenance and protection of Cleveland’s trees

• Develop, review, and recommend policies to carry out the care of trees

• Assist in coordinating tree-related activities

• Conduct an Arbor Day ceremony

• Provide tree information to the community

• Maintain a recommended tree list for the community

• Recognize groups and individuals completing tree projects

• Coordinate donations of trees or money to purchase trees

• During scheduling meetings, hear residents’ concerns regarding tree problems

• Perform other tree-related duties and opportunities as they rise

• Encourage the removal of existing undesirable or diseased trees

• Develop and administer a master tree plan for Cleveland

• Compile a listing of any trees which qualify as a “landmark tree” (criteria used to determine a landmark tree are factors such as rarity, old age, association with an historic event or person, abnormality, or scenic enhancement. Private trees may also qualify as a “landmark tree” at the request of the landowner).

It takes the effort of all of a city’s citizens to make a pleasing place to live. So the next time you are escaping the heat of a Tennessee summer in the shade of one of Cleveland’s trees, be sure to remember to thank these individuals for all their dedication and hard work at making sure Cleveland’s trees are maintained in a healthy manner.

This kind of effort is the reason Cleveland was recognized for the 21st time in April 2012 as a Tree City USA by The National Arbor Foundation.

Cleveland has also been recognized by the Tennessee State Legislature for being the first “Tree Trifecta” city.

The requirements for this honor is to be a Tree City USA, to have a Tree Campus USA (Cleveland State was the first in Tennessee), and to be a Tree Line City USA. On March 4, 2011, as a result of being chosen as 2010 Tree Board of the Year in Tennessee, the CSTB hosted the official Tennessee Arbor Day ceremony at the home of Allen and Janie Jones.

The CSTB meets on the fourth of each month at noon, and the meeting is open to anyone wishing to attend.

If you have questions, please contact Dan Hartman by email at or by phone at 423-479-4129. Please visit the new city of Cleveland website for more information on all of Cleveland’s organizations, officials, activities, and to register comments and suggestions.