04Ohio retained its status as the nation's leader in Tree City USA communities, and Grove City was among them for the 14th year.

04Ohio retained its status as the nation's leader in Tree City USA communities, and Grove City was among them for the 14th year.

The Buckeye State has 249 participating cities, villages and other levels of government, according to a recent announcement from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry. This marks the 27th year the state has led the nation, the announcement stated.

"More than 48 percent of Ohioans live in a Tree City USA, and they are enjoying a variety of benefits that come with having more trees, such as increased greenery, storm water absorption and decreased noise levels," ODNR Division of Forestry chief David Lytle was quoted as saying. "The Tree City USA program also helps communities deal with urban forestry challenges, such as the emerald ash borer."

As part of the nationwide program, Ohio residents planted more than 38,000 trees last year, and pruned another 111,000 trees, in the process volunteering in excess of 54,000 hours landscaping public parks and preserves.

The Tree City USA program, which was created in 1976, is sponsored by the National Arbor Day Foundation, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Conference of Mayors, National League of Cities and National Association of State Foresters.