The shade trees of Chillicothe are a valuable part of Chillicothe's heritage and history. The mission of the Chillicothe Shade Tree Commission is to maintain and improve the community forest of the city through the sharing of expertise, guidance and recommendations to the city administration and property owners for the protection of healthy trees, planned pruning, tree risk assessment, and planting in public right-of-ways and open spaces. In addition, the commission works to educate the public about the services that trees provide. This commitment to planting, protecting and maintaining public trees represents a long-term investment in the beauty, biodiversity and historic character of Chillicothe.
Chillicothe's community forest is one of Ross County's greatest assets. The trees are no longer viewed as something pretty or in the way. Trees have become an imperative and effective tool to combat many local and global problems. Trees clean the air, conserve energy in buildings, they sequester carbon, absorb flood water, moderate climate extremes, muffle noise, reduce crime and all the while add color and character to Chillicothe's residential and commercial areas, and yet they are thoughtlessly removed every day.
The trees that line our streets serve many important functions including cleaning the air we breathe, shading our streets, cooling our homes, slowing storm water run-off and adding to property values among other benefits. Yet, this valuable asset is in decline. Faced with the steady loss of an aging tree population, and limited planting opportunities, we face a sizable challenge to ensure that the natural heritage of Chillicothe is maintained for future generations.
Members serve under codified ordinance - Chapter 136. Each staggered term is 3 years. There are 9 members. 7 are appointed by the Mayor. An ODNR Urban Forester sits on the commission in an ex officio capacity. The commission is administered by the City Parks Director and City Safety/Service Director. To contact the Tree Commission, call the Safety/Service Director at 740-773-2700.
Meetings are held the 3rd Tuesday of most months at 5pm at the Municipal Building First Floor Conference Room.
Chillicothe is the home of Ohio's Millennium Grove of Historic Trees, part of a Federal project to plant memorial groves in the various states to celebrate the new millennium that began on January 1, 2001. The Millennium Grove is a 7 acre park with over 100 trees that have ancestors connected with historical people, places or events. The trees are laid out in chronological order in seven glades that group the trees that are associated with Ohio, American History, Civil War - North, Civil War - South, Presidents, Famous Women,, and Famous Men. In the Ohio glade there is a descendant of the national champion Kentucky coffeetree (over 300 years old, in Lake County, Ohio); and trees connected to Harriet Beecher Stowe; the wife of President Taft; the Wright Brothers; Neil Armstrong; and the state tree Ohio buckeye. By each tree there is a sign post that holds a faceplate that details the species name (common and scientific), a date, and information on the history associated with that tree. The sign posts are numbered and color-coded to facilitate self-guided tours. There are 40 different species of trees in the tour. To get to the Grove while driving on Bridge Street, turn between the Roosters restaurant and the BP gas station; at the stop sign turn left. At the next stop sign the Grove can be seen ahead - turn left down the driveway and park. Walk through the double line of flowering Japanese cherry trees and you have arrived! Literature is available at the Visitors Bureau at 45 East Main Street (740-702-7677).
The Chillicothe Shade Tree Commission is often in need project and program volunteers. If you are interested, please contact the Mayor's office at 740-774-1185.