The downtown redevelopment project synonymous with waste and mismanagement will still be known as Rio Nuevo — but the district board still awarded $4,000 in prize money in a contest to find the best new name.

The Rio Nuevo board decided against a name change, preferring to stick with its current name, and in the process rejected six names suggested by high school students as part of a scholarship contest.

Board member Jannie Cox said the public’s appetite to rename Rio Nuevo has waned in the last month, arguing that there was beginning to be some good news associated with the district.

She noted the last two audits of the district were positive and a bill in the state Legislature to ease restrictions on spending has not been voted down in this session.

“We need to be proud of the name Rio Nuevo,” she said.

Some in the community criticized the proposed name change, arguing it was a superficial attempt to distance the district from the bad decisions made by previous boards.

By rejecting the six proposed names, the board decided the six semi-finalists will split the remaining $1,000 scholarship.

The $166 check each student will receive from Rio Nuevo might be a small consolation for not winning the grand prize, though.

All six were already awarded a $500 check for being semi-finalists in the competition, which generated over 100 entries.

Contact reporter Joe Ferguson at or 573-4346. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFerguson