Rio Nuevo changes it name - KCTV5

Rio Nuevo changes it name

Posted: Updated:
  • Most ReadMost ReadMore>>

  • Union Pacific working to get train cars back on track near Picacho Peak

    Union Pacific working to get train cars back on track near Picacho Peak

    Union Pacific working to get train cars back on track near Picacho Peak

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 6:16 PM EDT2014-09-16 22:16:43 GMT
    Crews are still working to clear the tracks after an overnight derailment in Pinal County. There were no injuries reported and nothing hazardous was on the train cars. Authorities say the track could be cleared up of cars by noon.More >
    Crews are still working to clear the tracks after an overnight derailment in Pinal County. There were no injuries reported and nothing hazardous was on the train cars. Authorities say the track could be cleared up of cars by noon.More >
  • Flash Flood Watch through Thursday; get a breakdown of the threat

    Flash Flood Watch through Thursday; get a breakdown of the threat

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 4:46 PM EDT2014-09-16 20:46:09 GMT
    Source: Jack SumanSource: Jack Suman
    There are some things that are certain with the coming rain. You WILL get rain at some point over the next three days. There WILL be flooding in some areas of Southeast Arizona. There WILL be rain records broken. More >
    There are some things that are certain with the coming rain. You WILL get rain at some point over the next three days. There WILL be flooding in some areas of Southeast Arizona. There WILL be rain records broken. More >
  • Marana, Oro Valley, Golder Ranch Fire offering sandbags to residents

    Marana, Oro Valley, Golder Ranch Fire offering sandbags to residents

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 6:41 PM EDT2014-09-16 22:41:08 GMT
    The Towns of Oro Valley and Marana, as well as Golder Ranch Fire District are offering free sandbags to residents who need to protect their homes. According Oro Valley and Marana officials, a limited number of sandbags are available to residents of both towns; residents within the Golder Ranch Fire District service area are also eligible. More >
    The Towns of Oro Valley and Marana, as well as Golder Ranch Fire District are offering free sandbags to residents who need to protect their homes. According Oro Valley and Marana officials, a limited number of sandbags are available to residents of both towns; residents within the Golder Ranch Fire District service area are also eligible. More >
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Rio Nuevo has been a Tucson punching bag for nearly 15 years.

Passed by an overwhelming majority of Tucson voters in 1999, it never lived up to its promise.

In fact, its name has become synonymous with graft, corruption, inefficiency, fraud and government waste.

Now that the entire Rio Nuevo board has been replaced and brought under the watchful eye of state lawmakers, it's beginning to dig out of a very deep hole.

It began by getting its financial house in order.

It dropped the idea of a great big, shiny new hotel in downtown.

It opened its books to several investigations, including the FBI.

While no criminal charges were brought, the probes shed light on gross inefficiency and waste.

It seems to be fixed now or at least state lawmakers believe so.

The State Senate passed SB 1351 unanimously. Not a single no vote.

The bill, which has been sent to the House, will give Rio Nuevo much more freedom to spend money where it believes it needs to be spent.

It has a bank account of $30 million and can expect about $100 million over the next few years.

As for the name change, "It's toxic," says Board Chair Fletcher McCusker. "You can't say Rio Nuevo without people seeing government fraud and waste."

More than 100 Tucson area high school seniors sent in suggestions, which has been pared down to 18.

The winning student will be presented with a college scholarship in partnership with the University of Arizona and Pima Community College.

Some suggestions are Nuestro Centro, Esperanza Project, Corazon de Oeste among others.

The board will choose the final name but before it becomes official, it must go thoroughly vetted.

With the new freedom, comes a new responsibility for the board.

If the bill passes, "we're free to do whatever we believe is in the best interest of downtown," McCusker says.

He says Rio Nuevo, will likely focus on "one or two projects going forward."

He says primarily the focus will be on vacant land on both sides of the freeway generally along Congress Street and around the TCC.

He believe the new restrictions from the state lawmakers, new rules governing transparency and the rebranding may finally fix the serious issue plaguing Rio Nuevo.

"Had these been in place ten years ago, 12 years ago, it would never have been the runaway train that it was," he says.

Copyright 2014 Tucson NewsNow All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow
KCTV 5 News

Online Public File:
KCTV  KSMO

Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2014, KCTV; Kansas City, MO. (A Meredith Corporation Station) and WorldNow. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.