Mayor Gregg Hull reads a Manufacturing Month Proclamation during the Rio Rancho Governing Body meeting on Oct. 14.

The City of Rio Rancho is set to reconstruct Riverside Drive and much of Rainbow Boulevard soon, with multi-million-dollar state grants.
City governing body members voted unanimously to accept the grants during their meeting Thursday night at City Hall. The city was awarded about $3.33 million to reconstruct Riverside Drive from its southern connection with NM 528 to its northern connection with the highway, and $2.85 million to reconstruct Rainbow Boulevard from Southern Boulevard to Northern Boulevard.
“I think there’s going to be singing in the streets when this is done,” said Councilor Jim Owen, whose district includes Rainbow, about the reconstruction of that road.
He added that rebuilding Rainbow will open the area for development.
Both grants are from the New Mexico Department of Transportation and require the city to provide 5 percent of the project costs to get the state money. City Manager Matt Geisel said the Utilities Department has money to replace water lines under Riverside Drive during reconstruction as well.
Until finding the grant program, Public Works Director BJ Gottlieb said, his team had contemplated redoing a third of Riverside and only patching cracks on Rainbow. The grants not only allow reconstruction of both roads, but also free up $1.8 million of city money to cover rising material costs or do other projects.
Geisel thanked the team for finding the grant opportunities.
“In that one, we were able to capture lightning in a bottle,” he said.
Gottlieb said the design for Riverside is done. His team has to get it updated and certified under state requirements, obtain the partnership agreement from the DOT and put the project out for contractors’ bids.
Work will start as soon as they can get those tasks done, he said.
For Rainbow, Gottlieb said the city partnered with Pulte Homes to have the project designed in advance, which allowed the receipt of the grant. He said the street’s poor condition needs a lot of work and it has an antiquated drainage system.
He said the design is 95 percent done and the city needs to get the partnership agreement from the state, but work will start as soon as possible.
In other business, governing body members:
• Accepted three grants from the State Capital Outlay Appropriation Fund: $216,000 for pedestrian improvements on Sara Road; $600,000 for improvements to the intersection of Loma Colorado Boulevard and Idalia Road and $100,000 for drainage improvements on Pine Road.
• Approved a restaurant liquor license for El Agave Mexican Restaurant on Deborah Road.
• Approved an amendment to the Broadmoor Drive Specific Area Plan and to land-use zoning to allow 10.5 acres at Broadmoor and Picuris Avenue to be changed from multi-family housing and special use to single-family residential use.
• Approved a site plan that allows the Life Spire Assisted Living facility on 24th Street south of Southern Boulevard to add a second building with assisted-living rooms, plus cottages for independent living.
• Approved a second reading of an ordinance updating the Local Economic Development Plan to match new state regulations.

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