After a 28-year career as Garden City's public works director, Sam Curran will retire on July 3.

Curran, who started out working for the city in 1992 at the street superintendent, said in a news release it has been an honor and "privilege to have worked with this organization for so many years."

"I value the relationships I have made during my tenure," Curran added.

Assistant Public Works Director Andy Liebelt will take over as interim public works director starting Jan. 27. A search for a new public works director will begin later this year.

In 1997, Curran took over as public works director, a role that made him responsible for city streets, parks, traffic, solid waste and fleet divisions.

City Manager Matt Allen said Curran has helped bring into existence a citizen-based capital improvement planning process and spearheaded interdepartmental efforts to improve the city's management of facilities, equipment and vehicles.

"Sam was always willing to take on a new project, try new ideas and encouraged his employees to do the same," Allen said. "I really appreciated how enthusiastically Sam was involved in the University of Kansas certified public manager program. He was one of the first people in our organization to go through the program, and became a strong advocate for how the program can help public sector managers improve their ability to lead people and serve the public."

Allen said Curran has agreed to stay on board for a few months to help oversee projects in their preliminary stages, including Jennie Barker Road, the 8th Street reconstruction, a landscape project, a drainage project and the indoor gun range.

Curran said Garden City is where his family got its start, and it will continue to be part of their family roots.

"The five of us built wonderful relationships with so many people, enjoying the traditions, culture and roots Garden City has to offer," Curran said. "Our children are now grown and as my wife and I reflect on our time here, the following quote from an unknown author rings very true for us: 'Family, like branches on a tree, all grow in different directions, yet our roots remain as one.'"