Urban Forestry Commission
The Toledo Urban Forestry Commission was created by City Ordinance on March 13, 1990. It is a volunteer board whose members are appointed by the Mayor of the City of Toledo. The Commission serves in an advisory capacity to the City's Forestry Operation and as an advocate for our urban forest.
Proceeds from mulch sales from the woodlot operated by the City of Toledo Forestry Operation are deposited into a trust account managed by the City of Toledo. The Commission recommends expenditures from this trust that support the Forestry Operation, programming, educational opportunities, grants and Tree City events such as Arbor Day.
2017 Urban Forestry Commission Members:
Al Johnson, Lee Smykowski, Eric Prond, Amy Stone, Gavin Smith, Mark Wesley Arden Pontash and Bob Witt
Tree City USA program has been greening up cities and towns across America since 1976. It is a nationwide movement providing the framework necessary for communities to manage and expand their urban trees.
The Urban Forestry Commission has been active in the City of Toledo's efforts to become and maintain our Tree City designation. Toledo first became a Tree City in 1979.
More than 3,400 communities have joined Toledo in this commitment. To yearly earn this designation, four core standards of urban forestry standards must be met: maintain a tree board or department; have a community tree ordinance; spend at least $2 per capita on urban forestry and celebrate Arbor Day.
The Neighborhood Trees Matching Grants Program offers matching grants of up to $5000 to qualified persons or organizations for the purchase, planting, and/or maintenance of trees in public spaces located within the City of Toledo limits. Grant proposals are reviewed by the Urban Forestry Commission and awarded at the commission’s discretion, with the advice and input of the professional staff at the City of Toledo’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry.
To be eligible for the program, a project must meet the following minimum requirements:
- The project must be located within the City of Toledo
- Funds will be provided only to the extent that a dollar-for-dollar match is available from some person or organization other than the Urban Forestry Commission.
- The funds must be used for the purchase and/or planting of new trees, or for improving the quality or survivability of existing trees.
- The project must be located in or benefit a space open to the general public.
Note: The commission will consider projects in which the matching funds are used for purposes other than purchasing or planting new trees or improving the quality or survivability of existing trees. For instance, if a neighborhood group offers to pay for the installation of a new playground in a park, the funds for the playground may be counted as a match for funds from the Urban Forestry Commission to install new trees around the playground. The determination of which funds shall be counted as “matching” is at the sole discretion of the Urban Forestry Commission.
The Urban Forestry Commission will consider the following factors when considering specific projects for funding:
- Neighborhood/community support
- Positive impact on immediate and surrounding neighborhoods
- Positive impact on the City of Toledo
- Integration with existing neighborhood/community/city planning efforts
- Effectiveness of long-term maintenance plans for the project
- Other factors deemed significant by the Urban Forestry Commission
Applications for the Matching Grant should be submitted to the Urban Forestry Commission in writing. The application should specify the amount and source of matching funding, and address the items identified under Grant Considerations. They will normally be reviewed at the next scheduled meeting of the Commission, which generally meets on the fourth Thursday of each month. Additional information is available through the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Forestry located at 2201 Ottawa Parkway, Toledo, OH 43615. The telephone contact is (419) 936-2875. Completion of projects is expected within 18 months of approval.
Benefits of Trees:
- Trees enhance economic stability by attracting businesses; people linger and shop longer when trees are present.
- Where a canopy of trees exists, apartments and offices rent more quickly and have a higher occupancy rate; workers report more productivity and less absenteeism.
- Trees provide inviting and cool areas for recreation and relaxation such as playgrounds and parks.
- Trees create a tapestry of color and interesting form that changes throughout the year.
- The color green is calming and relieves eye strain.
- Trees screen unattractive views and soften the harsh outline of masonry, metal, asphalt, steel and glass.
- People walk and jog more on shaded streets, which encourages interaction with neighbors and improves the sense of community.
- Trees absorb and block sound, reducing noise pollution by as much as 40 percent.