Let me take a moment to thank everyone in the community for their contributions to our GroveCity2050 initiative.

GroveCity2050 is a community-focused planning tool designed to ensure that Grove City is prepared to facilitate planned growth through the year 2050 while keeping true to the small-town traditions we all know and love.

Having a strong, involved citizen base was essential to the initiative from the start.

The first step was to create the GroveCity2050 steering committee, a 30-member group representing Grove City's diverse heritage. The city received almost 100 applications during the committee selection process. Many of the applicants served on subcommittees or in working groups.

You may have seen members of the Steering Committee and other volunteers at various community events seeking input and raising awareness of the initiative.

Their involvement was key, and through the opinion-gathering process, we received input from more than 300 individuals and business owners. GroveCity2050 was possible thanks to the support of volunteers, residents, business owners, civic organizations and others.

We've received significant response during the past eight months and perhaps the most central theme is how important it is to retain Grove City's character. Residents, visitors and businesses all told us they love Grove City's small-town charm.

Grove City is the largest Columbus suburb located entirely in Franklin County, with a population nearing 40,000, yet we are able to maintain a community environment unmatched in the region. It is not by chance that Grove City was the only central Ohio city named a Best Hometown by Ohio Magazine for the second time.

As the GroveCity2050 initiative draws to a close, it seems appropriate to review what past planning initiatives afforded the city.

Projects such as Parkway Centre, the Mount Carmel and OhioHealth medical facilities, continual revitalization of our historic Town Center, the Grant Homestead renovation and public-private partnerships such as the new Southwest Public Libraries Grove City branch would not have been possible without careful planning and coordination.

We are forever indebted to the support and cooperation we receive from City Council, the South-Western City School District school board, Jackson Township trustees, the Southwest Franklin County Library board and our community volunteers.

Now, with the redevelopment of Beulah Park on the horizon, GroveCity2050 becomes even more important to ensure that development reflects what the community wants and needs today and through 2050.

"Growing Better Together" is our commitment to you.

Ike Stage is serving his fifth term as mayor of Grove City.