Tucson business community is pushing for a new legislative bill

Posted: Updated:

TUCSON, Ariz. -- While the City of Tucson and Rio Nuevo board continue to feud, downtown re-development has hit a brick wall.

The Tucson business community is frustrated and wants to see things change.  It's pushing a new legislative bill to solve the problem.

For the last decade downtown redevelopment has been slow, but business leaders want the green light to fast track major change to downtown Tucson.

"If we don't, ultimately the TIFF will be terminated," said Fletcher McCusker with the Downtown Tucson Initiative.

Termination of the TIFF is a way of saying Tucson could lose millions of dollars.

For now, one way to avoid that is a new legislative bill to clear up the Rio Nuevo board's authority.

The bill, crafted with the help of business leaders like Fletcher McCusker, could be introduced in Phoenix in a matter of days.

"For anybody to start putting together a piece of legislation without our voice at the table when it's going to affect our constituency is not appropriate," said Tucson City Councilman Steve Kozachik.

The bill is already raising eyebrows

"It does crossover jurisdictional and party lines, and I think suspicion of that is natural," McCusker said.

But McCusker says it's a necessary step to bring smaller projects into downtown.   Still, the legislation can't and won't erase the troubled relationship between the board and the City of Tucson.

"You can't legislate mediation.  They're going to have  to come together in their own accord for the good of the city," McCusker said.

The city, business community, and Rio Nuevo board know there's not just one way to spur development.

"Conceptually, we all want to see revitalization of the downtown area and city wide, but that's why were putting together our own toolkit," Kozachik said.

At the end of the day, the toolkit needs teamwork. The city says it just wants a seat at the table before another bill from Phoenix tells them how to do business in Tucson.