Not long after Rio Rancho Mayor Gregg Hull provided the Rio Rancho Roundtable NAIOP meeting on Nov. 4 at Premiere Cinemas with the eight-minute video of his State of the City address and answered a few questions, the Observer had a question of its own: What are the top-three accomplishments from his “just-released” 2020-21 address that he would easily remember 10 years from now?
Hull didn’t hesitate: “I think the most significant thing I’m going to look back on is Campus Park; that’s a really significant development that brings the community together in these various, different events, and we’re already seeing tremendous success and seeing people being energetic about that project, so it’s already being highly utilized.
“I hope to see that we’ve made really significant progress on the infrastructure; that’s something that I’ve been focused on since Day 1,” he continued. “Do we have a very concise way that we’re going to keep all the roads and make sure that our water system is running very efficiently and not in the place it is today?
“And then, I think the other things are the educational opportunities being grown upon now. I think 10 years from now, we’re going to see a different type of workforce coming out of our college campuses, UNM being the focus now on health sciences, on health education.”
You can view the video at rrnm.gov/sotc, but if not, here are a few other highlights in Hull’s address:
- Job creation: Hull emphasized the 116 new jobs at NTx and 700 more at the $3.5 billion Intel expansion announced May 3;
- Quality of Life Center: New in 2022 in Enchanted Hills, with half of the space dedicated for a new library, the other half for teen and community events;
- Public safety: first responder positions have been added, along with pay raises, and new equipment and vehicles purchased. Hull said the city’s crime rate has decreased 13 percent since 2018 and response times have improved by 20 percent in that span;
- Development: The city had 900 new home permits issued in 2020, and 2021 will surpass that. Thanking voters for support on recent bond issues, Hull said over 5,000 cracks in roads were repaired, Southern Boulevard has been nearly totally redone and Unser has been improved. Plus, Phase 1 of the new Broadmoor Senior Center has opened; and
- National and local rankings: Hull was proud to note the city was ranked among the 50 best places to live in the U.S. by Money magazine and the latest citizen-satisfaction survey has shown a larger percentage of happiness among residents when it comes to the city issues and quality of life.
Taking a look ahead, namely into the three bond issues coming up March 1, Hull said voters will need to decide the fate of — with no increase in taxes — $10.3 million on roads, with five key roadways targeted; $3.5 million for public safety; and $1 million for improvements and new playground equipment at three city parks, plus some funds for library materials at the Enchanted Hills facility.
And, he noted, voters will also be asked to decide on charter amendments, with one calling for the establishment of a permanent fund and seeding it with $10 million, “a way to make our money grow,” he said.
Overall, Hull concluded, “Rio Rancho is on the move and we’re looking to keep that ball rolling.”
Lastly, Hull said residents can look forward to Winterfest with a tree lighting, set for Dec. 3 at City Center, and the grand opening of the $20.8 million UNM Orthopaedics Surgery & Rehabilitation Center nearing completion just east of Sandoval Regional Medical Center.
That 50,000-squre-foot facility will be used for clinical treatment, research and education — with “care across the spectrum” when it comes to knees, hips, wrists and other joints.
Rio Rancho City Manager Matt Geisel is set to be the featured speaker at the Jan. 6 roundtable, speaking on community development and 2022 priorities in the city.