Think of that moment when you are unwrapping a gift -- the anticipation, the excitement.

Unfurling the ribbon is the first step in getting to the gift you've been eager to open and share with others for a long time.

I felt that same joy on the evening of April 12 when Mount Carmel Health held its blessing and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Mount Carmel Grove City Hospital.

With more than 200 guests in attendance, it was clear to me I was not the only one filled with excitement. An undertaking of more than five years, the opening of this hospital represents a milestone community investment and a significant commitment to health services for the residents of Grove City, forever changing the southwest gateway to central Ohio.

Mount Carmel served central Ohio in its west Columbus location for more than 130 years, before space became an obstacle. After conducting an intense study, it was determined a large concentration of patients were traveling from the southwestern central Ohio area. Also, a large number of physicians and other staff members live or operate practices in Grove City. This made ours the ideal community in which to locate its new full-service hospital.

A tremendous amount of planning and dedication goes into a nearly $400-million project. As I listened to the leadership of Mount Carmel Health address the crowd, I found myself thinking of the incredibly long list of individuals, organizations and entities within Grove City who worked together, getting us to this point.

The Grove City Building Division went above and beyond throughout the process to ensure a smooth progression for our new neighbors. Their efforts, in conjunction with the Development and Service Departments, have been key to comfortably welcoming Mount Carmel, soon to be the city's largest employer.

Jackson Township has also been a tremendous partner in this project, providing inspections and support.

As the Rev. Dan Millisor and deacon Michael Kopczewski of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church bestowed a blessing upon the hospital, I was reminded of the blessings Mount Carmel's partnership has already brought to our community. From its commitment to Buddy Ball and other inclusive activities, to their pledge of sharing the hospital's campus surroundings with the community, including multi-use trails, Mount Carmel has proven to be a vital community partner for more than healthcare.

What a special moment it was, to sit among the guests and relish what this ribbon-cutting means: health care closer to home, devoted community partners, access to full-service medical care and adding specialty services to our neighborhood.

When the time came to stand at the ribbon with ceremonial scissors, I felt my heart racing with anticipation.

We all stood together -- hospital leadership; city and township officials, religious dignitaries and community members -- then, with one snip of the bright red ribbon, we unwrapped this most exciting gift to our community.

Mayor Richard L. "Ike" Stage is serving his fifth term as mayor.