"It was just time," Dodge City Parks and Recreation director Paul Lewis said during a retirement ceremony on Tuesday.

Lewis will retire from a more than 20-year career as Dodge City parks and recreation director, ending a 40-year career that started in Stafford, Kansas on Friday.

"My wife was retiring from her job so I felt it was just time," he said. "We are still going to stay in the area and I will do some things but it won't be full-time."

Throughout his career, two of the things Lewis said he was most proud of were the Long Branch Lagoon and the Gunsmoke Trail walking paths.

"You know we started talking about the water park back in 2000," he said. "We got a committee together and brought it the city commission and went from there.

"But as for the walking paths, it has become so popular with the people in the community and everyone appreciates what it is, you know people get their exercise, I see families walking together, people walking their dog it became a great way to enjoy the outdoors.

"It added a great esthetic by the highway and to our parks and everyone benefits from it."

Taking over for Lewis will be Troy Brown, a regional parks and recreation director, in January 2018.

When asked how he feels his lat day will be, Lewis said, "It will be just another day."

Lewis shared his retirement ceremony Tuesday at the Santa Fe Depot with long-time public information officer Jane Longmeyer who will have her last day be on Dec. 29.

"Between Paul and I, I would just add that the city has great employment opportunities that can be very fulfilling," she said. "It has been for me."

To contact the writer email vmarshall@dodgeglobe.com