Rio Nuevo Approves $10 Million Budget for 2021

Facing a substantial reduction in next year’s revenue due to Covid 19, the Rio Nuevo Board approved a break-even budget reflecting an estimated $6,000,000 reduction in annual state tax revenue. The District has been dramatically impacted by Covid 19 related business closures and the subsequent economic slowdown. 

The District ended the year with a little over $6,000,000 cash on hand and has elected to hold those funds as a reserve while watching the current and future revenue trends.

A number of previously approved projects have been put on hold while revenue stabilizes. 

Additionally, the Board allocated zero dollars for marketing and sponsorship support for downtown centric events. Historically, the District has spent on average approximately $1,000,000 a year supporting such events as The Jazz Festival, El Tour de Tucson, Dusk Festival and other events. Chairman Fletcher McCusker offered to revisit the budget monthly to look for opportunities to continue to encourage downtown events and development.

The Board did ratify about $35,000 in glass repair expenditures from the recent vandalism to downtown storefronts.

Many of the District’s current construction projects are described as Public/Private Partnerships where the funding has been secured from private lenders and therefore are not affected by state revenue reductions. The Bautista, 75 East Broadway, the Tucson Convention Center renovation, and the One South Church hotel project ($280,000,000) are expected to proceed in the coming year.

More information on these projects and downtown can be found at

The creation of the Rio Nuevo Multipurpose Facilities District was approved by Tucson voters in 1999, along with an appointed Board, to invest state tax dollars in public and public/private projects to create a vibrant Tucson core. For every dollar the Board invests, the community reaps $10 of construction activity with projects like the AC Marriott Hotel, the Arena, Greyhound, the Mercado Annex, City Park, the Marist project and Caterpillar. For more information, visit

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