In the early mornings along 14th Avenue and other city locations, Jane Longmeyer can be seen picking up trash and recyclables.

It is a passion project of hers since joining the United Methodist Church recycle program group in 1990.

"The environment has always been something I have been interested in and that grew from there withbeing a part of the recycling program," Longmeyer said. "I appreciate the opportunity to work with recycling."

Today a reception will be held for Longmeyer along with parks and recreation director Paul Lewis, who will be retiring from the city.

The reception will be held at the Santa Fe Depot from 3 to 6 p.m.

Combined, Lewis and Longmeyer have close to 50 years experience with the city.

Longmeyer started with the city on Sept. 28, 1987 as the executive secretary to the city manager.

She went on to be a part of the Keep Dodge City Beautiful program in 1992.

"I worked in human resources for a few years as well while another person ran the Keep Dodge City Beautiful program," she said. "Then when that person advanced within the city I got the position back because I was experienced and knew the things that would make it work.

"The recycling operations are under the Public Works department.

"Then in 2010 was when I was named the public information director."

Longmeyer is a transplant from Iowa along with her husband who moved to Dodge City in 1973 but for Longmeyer Dodge City is home and has no plans to leave.

"I am still going to be part of the Women's Chamber," she said, "and am going to remain the beautification chairperson as well as on the Liberty Garden Committee."

As for the daily trash and recycle collecting, that will still be a part of Longmeyer as well.

"I am still going to do it," she said. "It is multi-tasking when you think about it.

"There is exercise involved, you're picking up litter, it can be thought-provoking and it is something easy to do.

"It's a wow experience.

"A clean community throughout the years is very important when you're a tourist town.

"It gives a perception of Dodge City and means a lot for new businesses coming to town that want to see that you are a clean community.

"It makes a difference."

As for any big plans once retirement takes place, Longmeyer says there are none.

"Working with the city I have had the opportunity to meet so many people," she said, "and be active in lots of organizations, events and programs and gained plenty of knowledge.

"Dodge City has been good to us.

"Our family is here, our friends are here and we like to stay busy so knowing the things here we will stay involved.

"I am grateful for all the opportunities given to me in the 30 years working for the city and look forward to being a contributing community member."

Lewis has been an active member of Kansas Recreation and Park Association since 1979.

Through his efforts on the Dodge City Sports Commission, Lewis was part of bringing the 1A State Basketball tournament and the 6-Man State Football playoffs to Dodge City.

He began his career as the recreation director in Stafford, Kansas, in 1978 and later worked for the Pratt Recreation Commission from 1980-85.

From there Lewis was the superintendent of recreation in Garden City for 10 years.

Then for the past 20 years, Lewis has been the director of parks and recreation for Dodge City .

Lewis led projects such as the Long Branch Lagoon as well as maintaining Mariah Hills Golf Course, field sports tournaments and maintenance of athletic fields throughout the city.

"The city of Dodge City has been very fortunate to benefit from Paul's knowledge and expertise," city manager Cherise Tieben said. "He has been a 'builder' in our city as well as Garden City and other communities where he has served.

"He has developed strong public and private partnerships that have created a lasting impact."

Tieben added that Lewis was instrumental in the remodeling of St. Mary of the Plains college gym for recreational use, aiding in the YMCA property along with Legends Park, Cavalier Field and St. Mary Soccer Complex as well as Spears Park, Dodge City Zoo, Wright Park Band Shell and the restoration of Hoover Pavilion.

"Paul Lewis and his leadership have made a lifelong impact on Dodge City that Spans beyond the scope of parks and recreation," Tieben said. "We will long reap the benefits of his unwavering efforts to make Dodge City a great community for visitors and locals alike."

To contact the writer email vmarshall@dodgeglobe.com