Anyone even considering moving their family or business to the City of Vision would have felt that was the best thing to do, had they been listening to Rio Rancho City Manager David Campbell and Economic Development and Business Relations Manager Matt Geisel on Thursday morning at the monthly NAIOP Rio Rancho Roundtable.
The duo talked about myriad topics in the city, both excited about the gleaming possibility of Rio Rancho becoming a hotbed for biomedical and bioscience in two growing areas: the Unser Gateway — north and west of Presbyterian Rust Medical Center — and off Paseo del Volcan, around UNM Sandoval Regional Medical Center and City Center.
Development of these high-tech medical fields means more jobs, and there might be a good chance Rio Rancho will have a qualified workforce to take some or even many of them.
On the topic of “residential,” NAIOP attendees heard there are 1,835 new lots coming online. Campbell and Geisel are confident the surging population will lead to Rio Rancho leapfrogging Las Cruces as the second-largest city in New Mexico when the 2020 Census is completed.
With most master-planned communities in the northern part of the city, Los Diamantes, where the new Joe Harris Elementary is being built, is the lone southern Rio Rancho master-planned community. Plans are to have 457 lots for that site.
Talking about infrastructure, Campbell gave an update for the reconstruction of Southern Boulevard, which is scheduled to have Phase 1 competed next month. He said a bond issue coming before voters in March 2020 will seek funds for other road projects, including “mill and inlay” on Unser Boulevard from Black Arroyo Road, near the south city limits, to Abrazo Road.
Proceeds from the 2018 general obligation bonds took care of six road projects in the city, while proceeds from the public-safety bond issue approved that year supplied a fire-ladder truck, fire engine, pumper truck, ambulance and 40 new police vehicles, with 10 more on the way.
“We’re being very responsible with all the money we get,” Deputy Mayor Bob Tyler added.
In economic development, Geisel cautioned, “It seems like the (amazon.coms) of the world are taking over.”
But he stressed his department’s need for the “three R’s”: recruitment, residential and retail.
Lastly, the duo talked about the extension of Paseo del Volcan, “a huge future project that is very important to our city,” Campbell said.
Rights-of-way are being secured for the project, which entails connecting the current end of PdV — at Unser, near City Center — to I-40.
“It’s an important link,” Campbell added, which includes improved access to Rio Rancho, Quail Ranch and Double Eagle II Airport.
“We need to be out there planning things now,” he said.
During the meeting, donations were accepted for St. Felix Pantry, which, along with local McDonald’s franchise owner Julian Garza, will host a free Thanksgiving meal for the needy Nov. 28 at the McDonald’s on NM 528 near Smith’s Food and Drug Store.
It was reported that 928 people ate at the 2019 Thanksgiving meal; preparations are being made to serve 1,200 this month. The collection for the pantry amounted to $1,025.
There won’t be a NAIOP Roundtable meeting in December. Rio Rancho Mayor Gregg Hull will be featured at the Jan. 9 meeting with his annual State of the City address.