The Costliest Route For The Taxpayer

The following article is an appeal to you the reader. The intent is not hidden, rather it is for residents of Parma who treasure their city and call it home. Hopefully, it will serve as a call for action where residents can begin an open discussion with our City leaders to improve our city's fiscal decisions.

One way to take the pulse of a city is by participating in local online forums or even the app. NextDoor. A variety of topics aretalked about and it's a good way to understand your neighbor's concerns. Much has been written about the utility rate increase looming. What is the best plan to go with? Also noteworthy, were the many heated discussions about Parma's latest school bond issue. Residents held strong opinions on which way to vote.

Elsewhere in Parma though less publicized but just as important was the 2020 Tree Inventory report that Parma requested. Tree Experts the Bartlet Tree Company were hired and did an intensive report. The city had concern about 700 city trees, most in our neighborhoods and parks. Of those trees about 92% of the 700 were suggested to be corrected with pruning. The other 8% or 54 trees were deemed diseased or damaged and were suggested for removal. Yet our group "Trees for a Greener Parma" have found through city records, a decision was made to cut down 800+ healthy trees. Despite the expensive price tag for the 400 page report, expert advise was negated. The city chose the costliest option for taxpayers. Not only fiscally but in human and environmental health.
While the United State's is implementing funds directed to conservation efforts within its' cities, Parma decided to cut down healthy trees with shameless efficiency. We can look to Parma's main traffic arteries, no longer tree lined. In 2020 the 4.2 million dollar Ridge Road improvement project began. Tree lawn trees once lining the roadway were independent of the project yet again sadly, city officials removed nearly all trees from the Parma Circle area extending all the way down to Pleasant Valley Road. When asked for explanation in emails and at Council meetings the Mayor remained mute on the topic.
Meanwhile, the Ohio Division of Forestry has held long term relationships with surrounding communities in Cuyahoga County. The Forestry Dept. specializes in Urban Forestry and provides assistance such as:
*Working with municipalities to compose or update tree ordinances
*Information is provided about the wisest tree options to select for parcel size
*Guide the municipality with the "how to" in order to assure the highest success rates of newly planted trees
*Working out all tree infrastructure issues with utilities, city engineers and planning commissions
*Establishing a relationship with local officials and residents to form a tree commission
*Share decades long experience from other cities about the least expensive approach to improving a city's tree canopy.
Parma is located in region 3 within Cuyahoga County. Since May of 2022 we have encouraged city officials to begin a relationship with the Forestry Service. Contact numbers and names were provided to all council and and the Mayor. The beauty of the program? It's FREE. Of the 50 states Ohio is one of a handful that offer this extensive program. Region 3's Urban Forester who retired in 2021 was disappointed to not fill the large hole in his 30 year career by getting Parma aboard.
I have shared countless emails and shared conversations with Urban Forester Steph Miller and find her to be a wealth of information about all city/tree topics. Why is it Parma does not take advantage of this crucial service? How is that fiscally responsible?

Sharon Stahurski

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

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Volume 15, Issue 6, Posted 10:06 AM, 06.01.2023