A new caf for the Tucson Children’s Museum is one of five restaurant funding requests that Rio Nuevo has advanced.

At the start of the March meeting last year, Chairman Fletcher McCusker noted that Rio Nuevo has enabled 25 new restaurants to open in downtown Tucson and predicted the launch of more for the area as well as Broadway Boulevard’s Sunshine Mile.

The sales tax impact from these new restaurants has helped to double the tax base since the State took over the Rio Nuevo District in 2012, McCusker said. “Our focus on food and beverage alongside an entertainment district is paying huge dividends in sales tax.”

The Tucson Children’s Museum asked for assistance with their growth and support to stay downtown, and this request resulted in a philosophical change in investment strategy that was demonstrated at the meeting.

The Board noted that the original Rio Nuevo effort supported not just the Children’s Museum but also a number of other downtown museums, but unfortunately those efforts came to a stop when the state took the tax district away from city control.

The museum’s expansion plans include a new caf in partnership with El Charro and a new tax-paying gift shop.

The Board welcomed the focus on retail, food, and beverage and unanimously approved to invest less than $500,000.

That focus on retail, food and beverage was welcomed by the Board and resulted in the unanimous approval to invest just under $500,000.

The museum will utilize these funds to restore and purchase the nearby historic 130 S. Scott building.

We appreciate the opportunity to be here in what is the biggest moment in the museums history. We are about to launch on an expansion that has been a long time coming. Weve been considering how to grow and how to expand in our current location for years, and this is the moment in which weve finally found a way to be able to without leaving downtown, said Hilary Van Alsburg, Executive Director at the Childrens Museum.