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Parks and Recreation

Contact Information
Parks & Recreation Department
City Services Center (CSC)
500 15th Avenue SW
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52404
Phone: 319-286-5566, option 2
Fax: 319-540-8843


Mon - Fri, 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Department Contacts

Replanting in the Right-of-Way
The City of Cedar Rapids encourages replanting of right-of-way trees by residents; however, plantings must adhere to the following requirements. After the significant tree loss caused by the derecho, it is imperative that trees planted have the greatest potential for success.
ReLeaf Cedar Rapids: A Plan for Street Trees
Placement Criteria
New Home Criteria

Right-Of-Way Planting Requirements

  • ROW trees must be at least a 1.5-inch caliper tree. Trees provided through some community tree adoption programs will not meet this requirement. Trees provided through the Planting Forward program are intended for planting in private yards. Tree size is required to make sure the tree will survive the challenging growing conditions of placement within the right-of-way.
  • The resident must complete an application for a permit to plant in the right-of-way. The fee for the permit has been waived. The permit allows the City to include the tree on the tree inventory, and ensures that the resident understands the requirements of street tree planting.
  • Cedar Rapids Municipal Code requires that new street right-of-way and parking lot trees be shade trees (over-story or mid-canopy species) unless overhead utilities do not allow planting of these trees.
  • The tree species must be selected from the ReLeaf Tree List.
  • Exotic trees that exhibit invasive properties and are known to compete with native species should not be planted.
  • The best approach for selecting a tree to plant is to evaluate sunlight, soil volume and quality, water sources, and other physical conditions of the site. Planting success may vary with specific circumstances.
  • The resident agrees to contact IOWA ONE-CALL at 1-800-292-8989 to locate underground utilities before doing any digging or removal of stumps.
  • The right-of-way is returned to its original condition following planting.
  • Excavations of any kind cannot remain open for longer than seven calendar days.
  • The resident agrees to hold the City of Cedar Rapids, and its officers and employees, harmless against any and all claims or damages that might arise by reasons of granting the application and issuance of the permit.
  • The resident agrees to provide maintenance and tree care so the tree is successful.
  • It is recommended that the resident review tree planting videos and materials provided by community tree adoption programs and on this website prior to planting.

Right-of-Way Placement Criteria
When site checking for planting its important to look at not just how the tree fits now, but how it will fit 40 years into the future.

Some of the parameters required are:

  • 30 feet between shade trees, 20 feet between ornamental trees
  • 40 feet from intersections
  • 10 feet from driveways and alleys 4 feet minimum areas between street and sidewalk
  • 10 feet from fire hydrants and residential water lines

Adjustments for good reasons are allowed only after consultation with and by authority from the Forestry Program.

New Home Construction/Final Occupancy Permit Criteria
A shade tree needs to be planted before a final occupancy permit is issued. The ordinance calls for a single stem, shade tree to be planted on city right-of-way. The required size for a large shade tree is 1.5-inch caliper. If overhead utilities are present, a single stem, ornamental tree may be planted.

Either the builder or the new homeowner must install the new tree prior to the receipt of a final Certificate of Occupancy. The tree must be healthy and vigorous at the time of inspection and be an approved street tree.

Effective January 2015, the City began accepting payment for the required trees. Due any time before the final occupancy is provided, this program allows builders or homeowners to pay the City to plant the required street tree. The new trees will be installed in the spring of the following year. Contact Code Enforcement at 286-5831 or building@cedar-rapids.org to request a Forestry inspection or with any questions regarding paying the City to plant the tree.

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