The Trees Have Disappeared In Parma

Back in November of 2022 I was interviewed by John Benson of the Sun Post. The article spoke about an ongoing debate regarding Parma's Tree Canopy. Well, that's not entirely accurate. I am grateful for this publication to allow me to set the record straight. The Sun Post article made it appear that I was a lone voice appealing to Mayor Tim DeGeeter on behalf of our city's trees. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Mayor was quoted, "One of the things is we’re finding out is not everybody wants a tree in their tree lawn."“City Council has been trying to target specific streets. We need to figure out next year when we go back and plant additional trees how to create a better mousetrap." Wait a minute, hold on readers, weren't we talking about the trees in Parma? What's all this about mice? Don't drink the Koolaid Parma residents. There is not a tad of accuracy within the Mayor's statement. The Mayor appears not to appraise too highly the intelligence of Parma residents that we must be "mousetrapped?"

How many readers out there have received ANY survey from the city? None right? Parma municipality has been approached by numerous residents with concern for the city's trees going back to the Mayors first term. Our group "Trees for a Greener Parma" follow a long line of residents that have been ignored. City officials have become adept at stalling and redirecting citizens down a dark rabbit hole.

Looking back to August of 2015 the blog by Stefan Stefaniuk was one attempt at addressing this issue. As Budget dilemma looms, Parma must invest in Trees. The Article "Suburban Colossus" was shared with the Mayor and constituents. Residents I have spoken with are angry and frustrated. Yet the Mayor continues with his skewed views which are not anywhere near accurate. Yet they appeal to an agenda, his way and no other. Outsiders/ residents are not welcomed in any way to desire to shape our city and contribute. So those of you a bit cynical are thinking.. so what? Many Mayors behave the same. Well, what really puts Parma back to the stone age is that our city leaders reject opinion even from hired sought after sources.

An example would be the Bartlett Tree Experts. Back in 2020 the City of Parma requested a "Tree Risk Assessment and Mitigation Report." This is an extensive study quite laborious and is an inventory of city trees that the city found to be of concern. Five arborists Tree risk Assessment Qualified, three of whom are Master Board Certified Arborists completed the nearly 200 page report and inventory. The report found that of the 700 trees the city found at risk, 58 trees were suggested to be cut down. The other 642 needed proper pruning. Yet since 2020 according to city records, Parma has cut down a minimum of 700 healthy, viable tree lawn trees, roadside and city park trees. A staggering number to digest. .

Back to the City leaders. Is Mayor DeGeeter moonlighting as an arborist now? He knows more than the arborists hired? We know he was a state rep. and is an attorney. Yet did he or anyone in our government system up there at city hall read or consider the Bartlett Tree report? Many of those trees were tree lawn trees which are deemed public. City leaders decided for Parma residents that the trees were to come down against professional advise. If more than 700 trees came down in the last 3 years, how many since Mayor DeGeeter took office? That's what has occurred without public oversight. Parma residents must demand better management and find its' voice, as our city is like the Titanic in a stormy sea.

Sharon Stahurski

Founder "Trees For A Greener Parma" and long time Parma resident

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Volume 15, Issue 3, Posted 7:58 AM, 03.01.2023