Cleveland, OH,
12:45 PM

Preserving and repurposing MetroHealth's trees

Northeast Ohio is known for its beautiful trees. The 23,000 acres of the Metropark System is even nicknamed the Emerald Necklace. Fortunately, that land is protected.

Trees on private and commercially owned property aren't protected when developers roll out building plans. It is often faster and more cost-effective to clear-cut the land.

That is not the path that MetroHealth is making as land is being prepped for our new hospital. Lots of care and thought are put into every aspect of the project - and that includes plans for every tree.

With help from an arborist from The Western Reserve Land Conservancy and Student Conservation Association volunteers, the trees that once surrounded our former garage (which is now the site of the new hospital) were inspected to determine if they could be preserved and transplanted.

Gingko trees that were found to be healthy were transplanted to other locations on the MetroHealth campus, including the corner of MetroHealth Drive and W 25th Street.

A pine tree found a new home in the quad area next to the Toomey Parking lot. That pine eventually became the centerpiece of MetroHealth's first community tree lighting event in December of 2018. 

The goal of the tree audit was to save as many trees as possible, according to Sarah O'Keefe, director of sustainability. "No one want to cut down trees."

Some of the trees were simply too old to survive a transplant, though. An oak tree and a linden tree were among them, but in the end, their trunks have found a new purpose. They are being used to stabilize creek banks for the restoration of West Creek, a project headed up by the West Creek Conservancy.

The creek spans several western Cleveland suburbs and meets up with the Cuyahoga River. The restoration project, which will help to improve storm water management, will restore the creek's path, which was displaced at one point by commercial development. 

About the MetroHealth System

The MetroHealth System is redefining health care by going beyond medical treatment to improve the foundations of community health and well-being: affordable housing, a cleaner environment, economic opportunity and access to fresh food, convenient transportation, legal help and other services. The system strives to become as good at preventing disease as it is at treating it.

The system’s more than 600 doctors, 1,700 nurses and 7,800 employees go to work each day with a mission of service, to their patients and to the community. As Cuyahoga County’s safety-net health system, MetroHealth plays an essential role in the region, caring for anyone and everyone, regardless of an ability to pay.

Founded in 1837, MetroHealth operates four hospitals, four emergency departments and more than 20 health centers and 40 additional sites throughout Cuyahoga County. The system serves more than 300,000 patients, two-thirds of whom are uninsured or covered by Medicare or Medicaid.

MetroHealth is home to Cuyahoga County’s most experienced Level I Adult Trauma Center, verified since 1992, and Ohio’s only adult and pediatric trauma and burn center.

As an academic medical center, MetroHealth is committed to research and to teaching and training tomorrow’s caregivers. Each active staff physician holds a faculty appointment at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Its main campus hospital houses the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s Lincoln-West School of Science & Health, the only high school in America located inside a hospital.

Knowing that good health is about much more than good medical care, MetroHealth has launched the Institute for H.O.P.E.™ (Health, Opportunity, Partnership, Empowerment), which uses a coordinated, collaborative and strategic approach to help patients with non-medical needs such as healthy food, stable housing and job training.

The MetroHealth Glick Center, a new 11-floor hospital, is under construction on the system’s main campus in Cleveland and is scheduled to welcome its first patients in October 2022. The billion-dollar project is the cornerstone of a wider neighborhood revitalization effort led by the system and its partners in the community.

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