Dead trees lining Cleveland city streets pose a safety hazard — but residents can't cut them down

Trees along the roadside are a city responsibility
Posted at 10:40 AM, Jan 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-23 23:34:18-05

Some Cleveland residents have growing safety concerns about dead trees lining city streets, trees that they aren't allowed to take down or trim according to city law.

Kate Marks told News 5 a 50-foot dead tree on her tree lawn had been threatening her home for more than three years.

Marks said she has called Cleveland's Division of Urban Forestry numerous times time to have them take it down, but so far she's been given nothing but promises.

"I think it's unsafe," said Marks.  "I'm waiting for someone to walk by with a stroller and get hit right on the head with a branch.  This is a big tree."

"We had 40 mile an hour winds the other night and a completely dead tree that's taller than my house.  It's probably 50 or 60 feet.  Does it have to come crashing through my house, and they won't let me do anything to it, or I'll be cited."

Cleveland Councilman Brian Cummins said he's been given many damage reports from residents who are coping with falling limbs.

Cummins said Cleveland's forestry department doesn't have the staffing or budget to deal with the growing hazard.

"It is a very dangerous situation," said Cummins.

"The last two, three, four years the cities forestry division has had challenges in terms of its staffing."

Cummins said he would look into trying to find more funds for the forestry budget, or he may try to create a program to train residents to handle the tree maintenance themselves when it's not a potentially hazardous job.

News 5 contacted the Cleveland Mayor's office, and it said it would look into slow turn around time at the forestry division.