Rio Rancho Mayor Gregg Hull was the guest speaker at the Rio Rancho Chamber Ambassadors meeting Thursday.

Hull began his speech to a crowd of more than a dozen ambassadors by praising the chamber for its hard work in sharing information about the city with the community.

“When people come to the city, they’re asking the ambassador, ‘What is Rio Rancho like? Who are we as a community?’ And my goal is always to make sure that we can get that information, get the information out to individuals like yourself that you can share with people that are asking about Rio Rancho and where are we at? Where are we at in our in our development? Where are we at in real estate? Where are we at in total overall quality of life for the community?” Hull said.

The ambassadors are part of a program within the chamber made up of 31 people who are employed in a managerial or supervisory position of their chamber member organization. They must live in or conduct business in Rio Rancho to be an ambassador. The ambassadors participate in ribbon-cutting ceremonies, grand openings and membership development. The mission of the group is to enhance the chamber’s visibility and serve as the goodwill arm of the chamber.

Hull then played his 2022 State of the City video for the ambassadors, a seven-minute video showcasing many of the positive changes in the City of Vision last year and previewing some projects and special events slated to take place in 2023.

“This is a part of a bigger objective to make sure that we as a community, we as your city leaders, are communicating to you the things that are going on in the city,” Hull said. “We try to communicate the things that we do and that we have control of as your governing body and as your mayor, what are the things that we have authority over?” Hull said.

After the video, Hull gave some updates on some of the projects and plans for this year that were featured in the video.

Fire Station 6 in the Mariposa neighborhood has been closed since 2014, when a study was conducted to identify a need to re-prioritize resources. Hull said the city is closer to re-opening the station in Mariposa.

“Our most recent budget adjustment that was just approved by city council added an additional 14 positions to the fire department, seven of which are going to be assigned to the Mariposa Firehouse to get that started back up again,” Hull said. “Now I think we’re  approaching 800 homes out of Mariposa, getting closer to 1,000. And so that being said, with that number of homes out there, getting that fire station back online has become a priority now that we’ve got building and growth going in Mariposa.”

Hull then talked about THE BLOCK, a new retail and food/beverage development scheduled to open in 2023 at the northwest corner of 528 and Enchanted Hills Blvd. and the positive impact it will have for local businesses. 

Hull touched on number of other topics, including the newsletter the city has begun sending out to Rio Rancho residents in January and the formation and duties of the Investment Advisory Board, which will be made up of citizens to help the city decide how to spend and what to spend on.

A big topic of the speech focused on something that is very important to many Rio Rancho residents: the roads.

Hull touched on several road projects the city is working on and has completed, including the reconstruction and widening of King Blvd. which began on Jan. 3.

The project is expected to be finished in September and will add a sewer line at the corner of King Blvd. and Unser.

“The reason we haven’t had a store pop up at the particular intersection is because there’s no infrastructure at that corner,” Hull said. “If you were a person wanting to build a gas station, it would have cost you about an extra $1.5 million to bring a sewer line to that corner. In this particular reconstruction project, I made it a high priority to make sure that the sewer line was in that development. And now that we have the sewer line, I would expect that something would pop up on that corner pretty quickly. I can’t tell you what it would be, it might be a gas station, it might be a convenience store. We’ve had DG Foods looking in that particular area, which is Dollar General but it’s their food store. And so we’ve seen a lot of people look at that corner. But what really pushed them away was when we said, ‘Yeah, there’s no sewer line.’ Well where’s the nearest one? About a mile away or a half a mile away. And so this is really going to lay in the infrastructure to create plug and play opportunities right there at that corner.”