City of Lawrence names next director of parks, recreation, arts and culture

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Luis Ruiz has been selected as the City of Lawrence’s next director of parks, recreation, arts and culture.

Ruiz — currently deputy director of community facilities in Mesa, Arizona — oversees operations and budgets for venues such as the Mesa Convention Center, the Mesa Amphitheatre, the Mesa Cemetery and the Dobson Ranch Golf Course, according to a news release from the city. He has also managed performing arts venues in Tempe and Phoenix. He has been working with the city of Mesa since October 2019.

“As Director of Parks, Recreation, Arts and Culture, Ruiz will oversee all departmental services, programs, parks, facilities, and properties,” according to the release. “He will also champion the City’s Unmistakable Identity strategic plan outcome, dedicated to enhancing Lawrence’s arts and culture scene, supporting a quintessential downtown, and fostering community engagement through parks and events.”

Ruiz said in the release that he is thrilled for the opportunity to work along LPRD staff.

“Together, we will collaborate with community leaders and organizations to create meaningful and lasting impacts for the residents and visitors to a vibrant Lawrence community,” he said.

Ruiz received his Bachelor of Music in Music Business and his Master of Business Administration from the University of Miami, according to the release.

“His dedication to leveraging arts, culture, parks, and recreation to enrich communities aligns with Lawrence’s values and aspirations,” the release stated.

Ruiz is taking over the position following the retirement of Derek Rogers. Lindsay Hart, assistant director of recreation, has served as interim director since Dec. 3. It was not clear from the release when Ruiz will begin work with the city.

“We are thrilled to welcome Luis Ruiz as the new Director of Parks, Recreation, Arts & Culture for the City of Lawrence,” City Manager Craig Owens said in the release. “His proven leadership skillset and commitment to fostering vibrant communities make him the ideal candidate to lead our efforts in enhancing recreational experiences for community members and visitors alike.” 

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