5 questions with Boca’s Downtown Manager Ruby Childers, AICP

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1. Tell us a bit about yourself, your job and how long you have been in your position.
I’m a native Floridian, born and raised in Palm Beach County. I’ve been with the City of Boca Raton for over 25 years, dedicated to the Downtown over the past six years.  I have a Bachelor’s in Business Administration and a Master’s in Public Administration, both from FAU in Boca Raton.  I’m an AICP certified planning professional, with experience in all areas of development.  A major portion of my position involves managing available development rights and reviewing proposed projects. Marketing and promotion of Downtown and the businesses within are also an important component of my responsibilities.  Downtown Boca provides assistance to businesses with our Welcome kits, advertising on our dedicated website and social media, along with periodic Marketing Forums. As an empty nester, I can now enjoy traveling to see old friends and make new ones.
2. What is the best part about working for Boca Raton?
I get to be an integral part of achieving the City Council’s goals for a beautiful, walkable and vibrant downtown – a perfect place to live, work and play. Plus, there are tons of really good lunch options near City Hall.
3. What is the No. 1 issue downtown Boca is facing right now? Tell us what is being done to help.
Parking. Parking continues to be a challenge as Downtown Boca attracts new businesses and visitors. We’ve created time limited parking zones to allow turnover for customers when visiting businesses, which have helped. But the biggest improvement will be a new downtown parking facility(s). The City is in the process of determining need and potential locations for additional parking to minimize the impacts of our success.
4. If you had to plan 24 hours in downtown Boca for someone who has never been what would you recommend?
Start with a great alfresco breakfast at Another Broken Egg Café in Royal Palm Place. If it’s Saturday, head over to Sanborn Square Park for free yoga (9:00am) and Capoeira (10:30am) classes under the trees. Or, stroll the shops in Royal Palm Place and Mizner Park for something unique from Deconceptshop or Sugarboo & Co. Lunch options downtown are plentiful, Taco Prince, Boca Skewers, Yard House, the Dubliner and Sushi Thai are favorites. Afterwards stop by the Boca Raton Historical Society & Museum and Welcome Center (Mon – Fri) to learn about our city’s fascinating past and local things to do, or visit the Boca Raton Museum of Art (Tues – Sun) for their latest exhibits and outdoor sculpture garden.
If you’re visiting with kids in tow, the Boca Raton Children’s Museum and Downtown library make a great stop following breakfast (and are about a block away from each other). Afterwards, treat them to a mouth watering cupcake at Allstar Gourmet Cupcakery before catching the latest PG movie at iPic Theaters.
Come nighttime, grab some food and drinks at Patio Tapas and Beer, 13 American Table, Pat’s Wine Bar, Roots Italian Kitchen, or Kapow! Noodle Bar, followed by live music at Biergarten or Funky Biscuit, and late-night dancing at Platfroms. That’s why we say Come Early, Stay Late!
5. What is the next best thing coming to downtown Boca that people should know about and why?
We have two! Downtown’s new hotels & multiple modes of transit from Tri-Rail and possible downtown shuttles. The Hyatt Place Hotel is slated to open this fall and the Mandarin Oriental to open next year, bringing overnight guests who will frequent our restaurants, shops and more. The City is also planning options for a downtown shuttle connecting to Tri-Rail and a Circulator that will transport people throughout the downtown and to the beach in the future. Both of these are exciting things that will make Downtown an even more vibrant and accessible destination.