November 19, 2013

Highlights from December 16, 2013 Rio Nuevo Board Meeting

Charles Johnson, from Johnson consulting of Chicago, presented to the board and public in a special hearing scheduled to review the Performance and Financial Audit results. Mr. Johnson congratulated the board on the current condition of the District, the financial accountability and transparency developed recently by the District and acknowledged that the District is now in full compliance with all statues.

Mr. Johnson did indicate that due to prior board’s straying from the mission of enhancing the TCC and grounds that the District had little financial capacity left to complete its primary mission. Johnson Consulting suggested that it could take up to $100,000,000 million dollars to rehabilitate the TCC and to activate the surrounding area. He suggested his hope that the region would come together, i.e. the city, county, state and Rio Nuevo, to find a way to finish Rio Nuevo’s mission. Mr. Johnson did state that his firm thought the current board had gained the credibility of the stakeholders and deserved a chance to oversee the completion of the downtown revitalization.

The board voted unanimously to accept the audit report.

In other business counsel acknowledged that the city has signed the deed for the area known as the Arena Lot, (bordering the freeway between Congress and Cushing), and the board authorized the continuing conversations surrounding the Arena Lot: A joint development agreement with the adjacent parcel to the east, a resolution of the Peach Property claims and a solution to the current parking arrangement whereby the city manages about 140 rental parking spaces. Parkwise will present a management proposal by the next meeting. The board also unanimously authorized a contribution of $40,000 toward the $125,000 cost of the Urban Land Institute’s site visit and recommendations regarding the future of the multi-jurisdictional lands around and west of the TCC. Other participants include the city, the county, Pima Association of Government and the private sector. ULI will present their recommendations in a public forum this Friday.

The Board, on a 5 to 2 split vote, elected to continue with the name change contest proposed by the NonProfit News Source and authorized the contest rules. Counsel for the District has confirmed that the Board can legally change its name, although members Cody Ritchie and Jeff Hill argued that a name change was merely cosmetic.

The financial report and TCC renovation update will be posted to the District’s website.