It’s official: City of Sunbury


SUNBURY — At one time a stagecoach stop, Sunbury was recently named a city by the State of Ohio.

“The official 2020 Federal Census results indicate that your municipality has a population of more than 5,000 persons,” said a letter to Sunbury officials from Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose. “Accordingly, I am sending you a proclamation of City status, as required by Ohio Revised Code 703.06. Please accept my best wishes for your community’s prosperity and development during this decade.”

Mayor Joe St. John read the proclamation during the last Sunbury Village Council meeting on Oct. 20. “The next Council Meeting will be as a City,” the minutes read. That meeting was on Nov. 3.

“Congratulations and best wishes, Sunbury! You’re a City now!” said Delaware County Commissioner Barb Lewis, who lives in nearby Genoa Township, on Facebook.

“Sunbury, Ohio used to be a sleepy, little town in eastern Delaware County,” the city’s website states.

Two hundred years ago, Sunbury was known as a stagecoach town. It was founded in 1816 by Lawrence Myers, who built the Myers Inn (which still stands) at the intersection of two stagecoach routes. From 1820-1873, stagecoaches stopped in Sunbury. Travelers included presidents, politicians, and personalities such as Johnny Appleseed. The rise of the railroads meant stagecoaches stopped rolling out of Sunbury.

Despite the city proclamation, Sunbury still bills itself as a “Small town. Big Ideas. Perfect Balance.”

Driving through as autumn leaves fall from the trees, one can see new homes being built, and a car wash going in at the Kroger Plaza. A roofing company is getting a new headquarters just down the road from the new high school, and a popular Chinese restaurant on the square has reopened after a pause from the pandemic. And a trail is being built along the reservoirs, which are currently closed, to improve park and recreation amenities.

While there is a lot of construction taking place, there are reminders of Sunbury’s balance of small town spirit and values. For example, there is a winter planter decorating contest across from the square, a sock donation drive at Table Rock Construction, volunteers are helping assist seniors with leaf removal, and annual resurfacing projects are winding down.

There will also be two community send-offs.

First, the Big Walnut varsity football team will head off to the regional semifinals in Mansfield at 4:15 p.m. today. They will go by Big Walnut Intermediate, to the square, and along state Route 37 before getting on I-71. The Sunbury/Big Walnut Area Chamber of Commerce said people may gather at the square and the Sunbury United Methodist Church parking lot to wish the team well.

Second, the Golden Eagle Marching Band will depart from the square at 12:15 p.m. Saturday to compete at the state championships in Medina.

A historical marker on the south side of the Sunbury square explains the city’s origins as an Ohio stagecoach town. historical marker on the south side of the Sunbury square explains the city’s origins as an Ohio stagecoach town.

By Gary Budzak

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Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.

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