Brief History of Shade Tree Commission
In the early 1900’s, Ridgewood was growing as a commuting community. Most of the area was farmland with few trees. The Village government appointed a Commission for the purpose of planting trees in the business area and eventually the surrounding streets. Thousands of trees were planted over the years. At one point over 50 town employees worked on Shade Tree projects.
For decades, shade trees and plantings were the purview of the Shade Tree Commission. However; in 1964 the structure of Village government was changed and the Shade Tree Commission was eliminated. By the 1980’s, shade tree responsibility was folded into the Parks and Recreation Department. Ridgewood was designated a Tree City, which meant it should have a Shade Tree Department as well as appropriate ordinance, but less attention was paid to trees.
REAC (Ridgewood Environmental Advisory Committee) discussed this problem, researched the Village’s ordinance, noticed how out of date it was, and decided to look at other towns’ ordinances. After one year, a large study was presented to the Council for their comments. A Shade Tree Commission was also proposed, and presented to the Council. In 2014 the Council agreed to appoint the Shade Tree Commission. The commission is in the process of reinvigorating interest, appreciation and investment in Shade Trees in Ridgewood.