What makes a city? In Ohio, a city is defined as an incorporated municipality with a population greater than 5,000.

Generally, the U.S. Census, performed every 10 years, officially determines the population and other facts that lead to a municipality's status.

In 1950, the Village of Grove City recorded a population of 2,339 residents. With decidedly rapid residential growth immediately following the census, the village quickly earned a title of the "Exploding Village" among some media outlets.

By early 1958, based on "best-informed estimates," the village's population was thought to have more than doubled since the 1950 census.

With a goal of attaining city status ahead of impending federal appointment, village officials moved forward with a special census. In September of 1958, the women of the Community Club were knocking on residents' doors as they began their assignment to complete the village's census. The results were forwarded to the Cincinnati branch of the U.S. Census Bureau for consideration.

In April 1959, Mayor Ernest Hysell received notification that Grove City's population totaled 7,505 -- well over the 5,000 required for city status. He was later presented a document by the secretary of state proclaiming June 5, 1959, as the date Grove City officially became the 150th city in Ohio.

As I thought about our 60th anniversary of attaining city status, I contemplated how interesting it must have been for Mayor Hysell to be part of that change as Grove City's last village mayor and first city mayor.

Then for the residents, I pondered: outside of government functions, what changed for them as a result of that historic moment? Nothing.

Because what makes a city doesn't only lie within the population, it's embedded in those who call it "home."

From its establishment in 1852 through today, the heart of what makes Grove City one of Ohio's "Best Hometowns" is people -- our welcoming residents and friendly neighbors. It's the strong commerce partnerships, supportive community and growing inclusion programs all developed and nurtured "together." It's the resilience we show in the face of adversity and a desire to preserve our history while looking forward to the future.

Incidentally, the 1960 U.S. Census concluded Grove City's population to be 8,107, an increase of 246.6% from 1950.

The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission estimates Grove City's current population to be more than 42,000.

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