Division of Park Maintenance and Properties

This division of Park Maintenance and Properties is responsible for development and implementation of the Citywide property maintenance management and oversees the Parks, Cemeteries, Golf Courses, Urban Forestry, maintenance of Vacant Lots, Greenhouse and Task Force Program assignments.


The Division of Park Maintenance and Properties began their initial cutting of City of Cleveland owned Vacant Properties the last week of April 2021. The objective of the Vacant Properties Cutting and Cleaning crews are to keep vacant properties within the City aesthetically pleasing and to eliminate health and safety hazards. Over the course of seven weeks, the division systematically proceeds through the 17 wards within the City of Cleveland.

After the completion of the first cycle of vacant properties and structures have been cut we resume the process for, at least, two more cycles over the summer.

Vacant Lots

Vacant Lot cutting crews, using industrial strength tractors proceed through the main and side streets of the wards, systematically cutting vacant lots owned by the City of Cleveland. A hand crew follows behind the tractor within a few days, ensuring that any trimming is done and any remaining debris is prepared for pick up. If, while inspecting, it is determined that a vacant lot is privately owned and needs to be cut, the city will cut that lot and invoice the owner for services.

Vacant Structures

The Vacant Structure crews are comprised of, at least, workers with industrial strength lawnmowers and a hand trimmer. Comparable to the Vacant Lot crews, the Vacant Structures crews proceed along a systematic cycle, ensuring that tree lawn, front and back lawns of city-owned vacant properties are landscaped. If, while inspecting, it is determined that a vacant structure is privately owned and needs to be cut, the city will cut that structure and invoice the property owner(s) for service. Like the Vacant Lot crews, Vacant Structure crews also prepare debris picked up at the work location for pick up.


Annually a Legal Notice is published in the Plain Dealer advising owners, operators and persons in possession or control of vacant parcels of the requirements of the City of Cleveland Codified Ordinances Chapter 209. For further information, download the Notification Letter and read Chapter 209.

Consistent with Chapter 209, a privately owned vacant structure/lot that has been cut will receive an invoice for the services rendered. The property owner must pay the invoice or protest the charge(s). To protest the charge, the property owner(s) must complete the protest form found on the back of the invoice within 10 days of receiving the invoice. The original and any supporting documents to:

Division of Park Maintenance & Properties
4th Floor
500 Lakeside Ave.
Cleveland, Ohio 44114

Once the Protest Dept. receives the protest, the investigation is started. Contingent upon the content of the protest and provided associated documents provided, the protest can be granted, denied or adjusted. A granted protest means the charges will be removed in full. A denied protest means that the charges on the invoice remain as-is. An adjustment means that the invoiced charges may be reduced based on what has been provided.

If the protest is denied, a Hearing Form will be sent to the property owner(s) along with the Denial Letter. An in-person hearing may be granted to allow a property owner(s) to bring any documents that may dispute the invoiced charges. The property owner(s) will receive, in writing, a hearing date which will be scheduled for more than 30 days in the future. If the property owner(s) does not attend the hearing, or they attend and the information they provide is insufficient, then their protest is denied.

After the Hearing Denial Letter is issued, the parcel owner(s) has 30 days of the decision to appeal with the Board of Zoning Appeals (BOZA). To request an Appeal of a Denial Letter contact BOZA at 216-664-2580.

If you have any questions regarding the protest process, you may contact 216-664-3243.

Occupied Structures

Vacant Structure crews do not service occupied structures. If the grass has grown to a level that could be a safety or health violation, it is referred to the City of Cleveland Dept. of Health for inspection.

If you have any questions about the Vacant Lots and Vacant Structure operations, you may contact the City of Cleveland’s Citizen Support Specialists at 311 (within the City of Cleveland’s city limits) or 216-664-2000 for assistance. Or, you can contact the Mayor’s Action Center (MAC) at 216-664-2900.


Greenhouse, Rockefeller Park, 750 East 88th Street, Cleveland, OH 44108

216-664-3103 - Daily 10 am to 4 pm - Friends of Rockefeller Park Greenhouse Website

Rockefeller Park Greenhouse is a public garden with both indoor and outdoor display areas. The Greenhouse and grounds feature theme gardens, specialty plant collections, and seasonal floral displays.

The Greenhouse is free to visit, and open year-round from 10am to 4pm daily including weekends and holidays. It is located within Rockefeller Park, at 750 East 88th Street, Cleveland, OH 44108, just south of interstate 90 at the Martin Luther King Jr Blvd exit.

Weddings and wedding photography at the Greenhouse require a Permit. For information about this, contact the Greenhouse office at 216-664-3103.

Beyond the Greenhouse grounds, Rockefeller Park stretches south approximately two miles. Within the greater park area visitors will find several unique amenities including:

  • The Cleveland Cultural Gardens - Over thirty developed gardens showcasing the cultural contributions of the countries represented, and exemplifying the motto “Peace through mutual understanding”. Visit the Cleveland Cultural Gardens website to learn more.
  • Rockefeller Lagoon – The Lagoon, located at E 105th St and MLK Jr Dr. is stocked with fish throughout the summer and serves as a popular fishing spot. Walking paths surround the lagoon and nearby playground and spray basin. Individuals or Groups interested in renting a Gazebo pavilion must contact the Division of Special Events at:

    Division of Special Events
    500 Lakeside Ave.
    Cleveland, Ohio 44114
    Phone: 216.664.2484
    Fax: 216.420.8122

  • Tennis Courts – The Judge Jean Murrell Capers Tennis Courts, located across from the Lagoon, offer seven lighted courts and a practice wall for solo play.

Visit the Friends of Rockefeller Park Greenhouse website to stay updated on displays and events.

The Urban Forestry Section

216.664.3104 - Weekdays 8 am to 4:30 pm

The goal of Urban Forestry is to provide a safe urban forest while striving to preserve its natural beauty. This office's activities include the pruning of street trees, the removal of trees that are a risk to public safety and the planting of street trees (when funding is available).

Request a Street Tree

If you are a property owner, you can have a tree planted on your tree lawn for free!  Submit a request through our new tree request form.

Urban Forestry Commission

The City of Cleveland’s Urban Forestry Commission will serve in an advisory capacity to assist the Mayor, Cleveland City Council, Urban Forestry Section of the Division of Park Maintenance and Properties, and the City Planning Commission in ensuring the many benefits trees provide to citizens of the City.

Applications for the Urban Forestry Commission are now open

Emerald Ash Borer Information

The City of Cleveland Urban Forestry Section is removing all ash trees in the right-of-way.  The ash trees are infested with a non-native beetle: the Emerald Ash Borer.  The borer came from China and was found in Michigan in June 2002.  Since then it has spread to Canada and more than thirty US states.  The beetle only infests ash trees (Fraxinus genus).  

There are pesticide treatments designed to kill the borer before or during an infestation.  These treatments can be expensive and are only effective when administered repeatedly throughout the life of the tree.  This is not a cost-effective option for the ash trees in the city’s right-of-way.  It is a known fact that all untreated ash trees will die.  

For those with ash trees, the city recommends contacting an ISA Certified Arborist to evaluate them and to discuss options. 

Informational Links

New Tree Requests

Once ash trees are removed, homeowners can call the Urban Forestry Section at 216.664.3104 for a replacement tree. The intake department will record all requests in a database. Trees are planted when a funding source is identified. 

Trees and Sidewalks

Homeowners with time-sensitive needs for sidewalk repair, who are not part of the 50/50 Sidewalk Program or the Tree Damaged Sidewalk Program, can request assistance from Urban Forestry.  First, a sidewalk replacement permit must be obtained from the Bureau of Sidewalks at 216.664.7434.

Once a permit is in hand, the homeowner may call Urban Forestry to schedule a tree and root assessment.  In order for the Forester to assess the roots, damaged sidewalk panels must be removed.  A Forester will complete the assessment within 48 hours of sidewalk panel removal.  

If the tree cannot be retained during construction, Urban Forestry will remove it.  If roots need to be removed, that will be scheduled after the Ohio Utility Protection Service has marked the site to avoid contact with underground utilities.

The responsibility for the removal of the damaged sidewalk as well as costs associated with the installation of new cement is the responsibility of the property owner.

Trimming Back Overhanging Branches

Landowners have the right to trim vertically and remove overhanging obstructions from above their side of the fence. Ohio courts recognize this privilege to remove obstructions, but not without limitations. Ohio courts do not permit landowners to cause harm to the other side of the property line. A landowner should be careful not to damage the neighbor’s trees or trespass on to the neighbor’s property when trimming overhanging branches. Landowners may be liable to a neighbor if they recklessly damage a neighbor’s tree when removing overhanging branches.

Landowners should review their rights and responsibilities to maintain fences prior to clearing the fence row. For more information on line fence law, visit the Ag Law Library.

Threats From Insects

This division will remove wasp, hornet or bee nests from city-owned trees if found to pose a threat to public safety.

Tree Roots in Sewers

Urban Forestry does not remove a tree when roots have made their way into water or sewer pipes. Much like gutters should be cleaned of debris to prevent gutter overflow, each homeowner is responsible for annual maintenance of their sewer laterals. This is the pipe that connects the sewer pipes in the house to the main sewer pipe, which is usually at the street. Because the pipes are buried and out of sight, homeowners usually don’t have any clues to potential problems in their laterals until it is too late. -More

Cemeteries, Public

216.348.7210 - Weekdays 8 am to 5 pm

The Division of Park Maintenance & Properties provides burial services and cemetery maintenance. If a family wishes to purchase a grave, they may visit the cemetery of their choice to make a selection, or they can allow the City to choose for them. -more


Park Maintenance

Park maintenance operations are an integral part of making the city of Cleveland a safe and healthy place to live. This large operation runs twelve months out of the year and includes the upkeep and maintenance of parks, police districts and the downtown footprint.

Parks employees maintain 172 parks, five police districts and the downtown areas. The Downtown areas include from the Cuyahoga River to E 18th and Lake Erie to Progressive Field.

Parks help make neighborhoods inviting and safer by making these areas clean and green. Parks also maintains the City of Cleveland’s numerous paths that allow pedestrians and bicyclists to proceed throughout the city, whether for exercise, travelling or just relaxation.

In spring and summer months (April-November) the focus is on grass cutting, trash removal, ball field preparation, Enhanced Park Improvement Program and special events. The Enhanced Park Improvement Program target Parks throughout the city that are in need of bench repairs, playground repainting and minor nut/bolt repairs. All projects are done by Park staff, which saves time and money by not needing to contract these enhancements and repairs out.

From December to March, the focus turns to leaf removal on hard surfaces such as basketball/tennis courts, pool decks and parking lots. Snow and ice removal also are our top priority during these months. Park operations clears snow and ice from City of Cleveland Recreation Centers, select Park locations, City owned Parking Lots, City Hall, Public Auditorium and Willard Park.

Per the 2021 City of Cleveland Mayor’s Estimate Park Operation maintains:

  • Park Acreage: 1,895
  • Park locations: 172
  • Ball Fields: 129
  • Tennis Courts: 86
  • Basketball Courts: 102
  • Playgrounds: 109
  • Exterior Fence Repairs on City of Cleveland Swimming Pools: 39
  • Park Shelters: 41
  • Spray Basins: 24

Permits for Use

Individuals or Groups interested in using a City of Cleveland Park for Sporting or Special events must contact the City of Cleveland’s Division of Special Events. The parks may have capacity, time, and/or food and beverage restrictions and the hiring of security may be required as a condition of permit eligibility.

In order to have an event considered for a permit, a completed application can be faxed or dropped off. Completed applications must be received ten days prior to the event. Organizations hosting large scale events that require a variety of City services should contact the Division of Special Events at:

Division of Special Events
500 Lakeside Ave.
Cleveland, Ohio 44114
Phone: 216.664.2484
Fax: 216.420.8122

For non-emergency issues regarding City of Cleveland Park Maintenance, you may contact the City of Cleveland’s Citizen Support Specialists at 311 (within the City of Cleveland’s city limits) or 216-664-2000 for assistance. Or, you can contact the Mayor’s Action Center (MAC) at 216-664-2900.