Warm weather beckons us outdoors and I am no exception.
Enjoying a leisurely morning bicycle ride through the city is one of my favorite ways to get moving on a nice day.
Pedaling through Windsor Park, I'm reminded of the many games played on the fields over the past 60 years, family time spent with friends and neighbors and the memories the park continues to facilitate each year. The smell of fresh-cut grass from the well-groomed ball fields puts a smile on my face as I think of all the children looking forward to squaring up at the plate to swing for a homerun while their families cheer them on.
Approaching the Mirolo Dream Field at Mount Carmel Stadium and adjoining playground warms my heart, knowing our community works tirelessly to maintain an atmosphere of inclusion for those of all abilities. I'm looking forward to attending Buddy Ball games this summer, as all ages play Saturday mornings and adults play on Tuesday evenings.
I enjoy stopping at the Service Department next to Windsor Park to say hello to those who are up early, maintaining our city's appeal. Taking immense pride in their city, service and parks department associates are the reason people visiting Grove City say, "Wow! Look how inviting!" Not only are they responsible for the maintenance of city streets and all city-owned vehicles and buildings, they manage all forestry efforts, including the summer flowers and gorgeous greens in our 21 parks.
Some mornings I travel the new Beulah Park path, ambling alongside the rerouted stream on the property formerly home to the thoroughbred-race track. Returning the stream to its original course (from which it was altered more than 70 years ago) was an ambitious task and the result still amazes me.
Biking to Broadway during the school months, I often find my path meets with school children touring our historic Town Center. The children often stop to play on the stage of the George Edge Music Park on Broadway and I invite them to the Summer Sizzle concerts that take place on that stage most Friday evenings.
When they prepare to leave, I ask them to tell their families about the free Fryer Flicks at dusk on the sledding hill at Fryer Park every Thursday.
These are two family-oriented event series I am so proud we can share.
On Saturday mornings, I look forward to touring the Farmers' Market, sampling the day's specials and getting to know our local farmers.
Weekdays, one of my favorite things about my morning rides, is stopping at Lilly's Kitchen Table, where they always have an ice-cold glass of water waiting for me. To relax and visit with them and some of their guests is a pure delight -- the epitome of small-town charm. We talk about the weather and all of the June special events coming to the Town Center: The Wine and Arts Festival, the Ohio Flags of Honor display and the dedication of the Gold Star Families Memorial Park, all happening June 15-17.
When I'm off the trails and appreciating our streets, I regularly see other cyclists enjoying the busy day while serving the city, such as our city code-enforcement officer and the Grove City Police Cycle Patrol officers.
Some early morning rides turn into late morning rides, and my bicycle takes me to Mona's Eats and Treats for a milkshake. I enjoy sitting outside and watching our active community. Some days I'm in the company of other cyclists and we share stories of our favorite places to ride in Grove City. At the top of the list are Gantz Park, Fryer Park, the Big Splash, Pinnacle and the new trails at Scioto Grove Metro Park.
There's always something to discover in Grove City, and I invite you to get out and explore with your family. Consider joining me on a ride at the "Bike with Mayor Ike" event in connection with the Grove City EcoFest in August.
Find all summer event details by visiting GroveCityOhio.gov or on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and NextDoor@GroveCityOhio.
Mayor Richard L. "Ike" Stage is serving his fifth term as mayor.