FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – It is the end of an era in Fort Worth as Mayor Betsy Price, the longest serving mayor in the city’s history, retires.

But, before she hangs up her hat, she is being honored as Fort Worth Magazine’s ‘Person of the Year’.

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“That is a huge honor! You know, it is the first year they have done a ‘Person of the Year,'” Price explains. “They have done lists of the top 200 and 400 people (in the city) before, but it’s kind of overwhelming to think that I would be selected as the top influencer in the city.”

When asked why she believes she was chosen for the honor, Price let out the laugh she’s been known for during her time of service jokingly saying, “I don’t know, maybe they like crazy people!”

But the real reason she was selected was due to the impact she has had on Fort Worth, which is now the nation’s second fastest-growing city.

“You know, I have to hope (I was chosen) because I’ve really helped to shape this city in ten years,” Price says. “We’ve seen such growth and so many changes.”

According to new figures from the Census Bureau, the city grew by more than 19,000 people between 2019 and 2020.

When reflecting on the changes Fort Worth has seen in the past decade she says “Dickies arena wasn’t here, Chisholm Trail wasn’t here, Sundance Square was a parking lot, and you could smoke in any building in the city.”

During her time as Mayor, Price’s time has not been spent inside City Hall.

“I’ve never believed that you govern well behind a desk and my motto’s been you’ve always got to be out in the community,” Price explains.

From rodeos to ribbon cuttings, and her iconic rolling town halls, she has been known for her time out in the community, meeting the people she serves.

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“First and foremost, you want people to know you are here and that you really care,” she says. “I don’t do this for the politics. I’ve never done this for the politics. I just do it for the service.”

An attitude of service that began when she served as Tarrant County Tax Assessor for ten years, before she was elected to as Mayor in 2011. Since being Mayor, she has led the city out of the recession, navigated high profile police incidents and now, the Coronavirus pandemic, all on top of leading the city’s day to day progress and path.

“We’ve had our moments of real excitement and then moments where it is pretty boring,” she says. “But the biggest challenge has been managing the growth and still keeping Fort Worth true to its roots.”

Every step of the way, encouraging folks to get moving through her initiatives like “Fit Worth” and “Blue Zones,” which she says continue to be points of pride for her time in office.

“We are the only big city in the nation that is ‘Blue Zone’ certified,” she says. “We have changed the health of this community and we’ve moved the needle a lot. There’s a lot of work still to be done, but it matters because it is about people being engaged.”

She says when people are out walking or biking in their neighborhood, they talk to their friends, get to know their neighbors and get involved in their community which makes for a better and stronger city.

Price admits there is never a perfect time to say goodbye to serving the city she loves, but she has a good reason for stepping away.

“I looked at my kids and looked at my grandkids and thought this is a good time,” she says. “There will never be a perfect time to turn the reins over to someone else, but this one is as good as any.”

Now, she says she is excited for what the next chapter holds.

“I’m not one to sit around and do nothing, so I don’t know if it will be on the public side or the volunteer side or where it will be, but I will come back and do something for sure,” she says.

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There will be a reception held at the Fort Worth Club Thursday night to honor Mayor Price as Fort Worth Magazine’s Person of the Year. Tickets can be purchased starting at $42.50.

Madison Sawyer