Rio Rancho, New Mexico
|Rio Rancho, New Mexico|
|— City —|
|City of Rio Rancho|
|Nickname(s): The City of Vision|
|• Mayor||Thomas E. Swisstack|
|• City||73.4 sq mi (190.4 km2)|
|• Land||73.4 sq mi (190.2 km2)|
|• Water||0.1 sq mi (0.2 km2)|
|Elevation||5,282 ft (1,610 m)|
|• Metro||907,755 (MSA)|
|Time zone||Mountain (UTC-7)|
|• Summer (DST)||Mountain (UTC-6)|
|ZIP codes||87124, 87144, 87174|
|GNIS feature ID||1699884|
Rio Rancho (Spanish: Río Rancho) is the largest city and economic hub of Sandoval County in the U.S. state of New Mexico. A small portion of the city extends into northern Bernalillo County. It is the third-largest and also one of the fastest growing cities in New Mexico. U.S. Census Bureau data shows that Rio Rancho's population rose to 87,521 in 2010.
The Rio Rancho area was originally part of the Alameda Grant, which was founded by the Spanish in 1710. By the early twentieth century, much of the land grant had been sold to land investment companies. Amrep Corporation purchased 55,000 acres (220 km²) in 1961 and turned the land into a housing development called "Rio Rancho Estates" with the first families moving in the early 1960s, most of whom were New Yorkers. (The developers advertised heavily on New York area media.) The population grew tenfold between 1970 and 1980, and the City of Rio Rancho was incorporated in 1981. The opening of a large Intel Corporation plant in 1981 had a major economic impact on the city.
Since the 1990s, Rio Rancho has taken steps to become more independent from neighboring Albuquerque, including the establishment of separate school and library systems and attempts to attract businesses to the area. The city's latest project is the Downtown City Centre development that includes a new city hall building, a new UNM West and CNM campus as well as the Santa Ana Star Center. The arena opened in October 2006. City Hall opened in September 2007.
Census 2000 data 
As of the census of 2000, there were 51,765 people, 18,995 households, and 14,113 families residing in the city, although more recent estimates indicate higher numbers. The population density was 705.0 inhabitants per square mile (272.2/km²). There were 20,209 housing units at an average density of 106.3 persons/km² (275.2 persons/sq mi). The racial makeup of the city was 78.36% White, 2.7% African-American, 3.4% Native American, 10.85% from other races, and 4.12% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 27.7% of the population.
There were 18,995 households out of which 40.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.4% were married couples living together, 10.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.7% were non-families. 20.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.70 and the average family size was 3.14.
In the city the population was spread out with 29.2% under the age of 18, 7.0% from 18 to 24, 32.0% from 25 to 44, 20.1% from 45 to 64, and 11.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 94.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.9 males.
The median income for city was $47,169, and the median income for a family was $52,233. Males had a median income of $39,162 versus $27,385 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,322. About 3.7% of families and 5.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.1% of those under age 18 and 5.8% of those age 65 or over.
Geography and climate 
Rio Rancho is located at 35°17'10" North, 106°40'14" West (35.286185, -106.670660). It lies in the Albuquerque Basin to the west of the Rio Grande, which bounds the northeast corner of the city. There is an escarpment to the west of the city limit. Rio Rancho is bordered by Albuquerque to the south, the Santa Ana Indian Reservation to the north, and Bernalillo and Corrales to the east. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 73.5 square miles (190.4 km2), of which, 73.4 square miles (190.2 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.2 km²) of it (0.11%) is water.
|Climate data for Rio Rancho, New Mexico (1981-2010 normals)|
|Record high °F (°C)||69
|Average high °F (°C)||48
|Average low °F (°C)||20
|Record low °F (°C)||−5
|Precipitation inches (mm)||0.43
|Source: Weather Channel |
The Intel Corporation is by far the largest employer in Rio Rancho. The services, retail, and government sectors are also major components of the local economy.
Rio Rancho is the site of Intel's Intel Fab 11X, the largest and most advanced semiconductor fabrication plant in the world. The fully automated, $2 billion facility opened in 2002 and was the first Intel plant to manufacture 300 mm silicon wafers, which can hold almost twice as many chips as the standard 200 mm wafers. Fab 7, Intel's original Rio Rancho plant, closed in 2002 but is being converted into a test facility.
In 2005, Rio Rancho became the first U.S. city to offer citywide voice-over-WiFi (VoWiFi) service although many of its residents complained that the service did not live up to their expectations.
Several call centers call Rio Rancho home. Walmart opened up in early summer of 2006 in Rio Rancho thus sparking several new commercial retailers to locate nearby.
Top employers 
|#||Employer||# of employees|
|2||Rio Rancho Public Schools||1,410|
|4||Sprint Corporation Call Center||610|
|5||Bank of America Call Center||528|
New projects 
New construction of large facilities include:3:
- City Centre Development, including new City Hall and Events Center,
- New 48,000 SF office complex, home to Waste Management’s Regional Offices,
- New 8,000 SF office for Personal Chefs Association,
- Loma Colorado Development,
- Mariposa a 6,500-acre (26 km2) Development,
- V. Sue Cleveland High School began classes in 2009,
- A new UNM West Campus.
- Hewlett Packard building opened January, 2010,
- Central New Mexico Community College(CNM)Construction now complete.
- A new 75-acre (300,000 m2) development on Unser Boulevard in the southwestern part of the city including a new location for Presbyterian Hospital, Opened October 17, 2011, surrounded by planned office and retail space, a hotel, and a 12-screen Century-branded Cinemark movie theater with Cinemark XD theater. Construction will consist of three phases originally planned between 2010 and 2013, but little has been developed as of late 2012.
- A new 14-screen Premiere Cinemas theater at the corner of Southern Boulevard and Unser Boulevard.
The City of Rio Rancho City Council recently passed tax increases that raised gross receipts taxes that are higher than Albuquerque. The City Council also passed an automatic annual increase in water rate equivalent to 25% over a five year period.[verification needed] Recent bond measures have seen significant increases in property taxes. Recent updates from the City of Rio Rancho Finance department indicate that the only increase in revenue has been from property taxes.
2000s housing bubble 
Rio Rancho was home to the inactive New Mexico Scorpions minor-league ice hockey team, which relocated from Albuquerque in 2006. The Scorpions play at Santa Ana Star Center. However, if the Scorpions return, it will not be at the Star Center, as the New Mexico Mustangs of the North American Hockey League have announced they will begin play there starting in 2010-11.
Starting in fall of 2010, the Star Center was home to the New Mexico Thunderbirds of the NBA Development League and the New Mexico Mustangs of the North American Hockey League The New Mexico Mustangs were granted an inactive status for the 2012–13 season. The Mustangs, if they return to active status will not return to Rio Rancho, and are seeking a new home out side of New Mexico. The New Mexico Thunderbirds announced in July 2011 that the team was sold to the Cleveland Cavaliers and will be moved to Canton, OH for the upcoming season.
The Blades Multiplex Arena are home to the New Mexico Renegades of the Western States Hockey League. The team is entering its 4th year in existence and 2nd year under new ownership. The Renegades are a major outlet for hockey players moving up to the North American Hockey League and to major college hockey programs. Blades Multiplex also hosts an indoor soccer league and an indoor flag football league.
Starting in February 2012 Rio Rancho will be home to the New Mexico Stars professional indoor football team. They will play seven home games at the Santa Ana Star Center, with whom they have signed a five year contract.
Rio Rancho is also the home city of New Mexico Strongman, an amateur organization dedicated to promoting and hosting strongman competitions in New Mexico.
Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Alan Branch is from Rio Rancho.
City Manager James Palenick controversy 
On December 13, 2006, Rio Rancho City Manager James Palenick was fired by the City Council. In September 2007 the New Mexico Attorney General's office issued an opinion that conversations between the mayor and four city councilors before the firing were a violation of the state's Open Meetings Act. Based on this decision Palenick sued the city in January 2008, claiming he was fired illegally and seeking back pay. The city claimed it had cured the violation by voting in open session in November 2007 to fire him.
Mayor Kevin Jackson controversy 
Mayor Kevin Jackson resigned on July 17, 2007, after city councilors censured him, passed a vote of no-confidence, took away his city credit card, and voted to subpoena him to testify about allegations that he had made about $5,300 in questionable purchases on his city credit card. He was also being investigated by the Rio Rancho Department of Public Safety, the New Mexico State Police, a U. S. inspector general, and the New Mexico Auditor's Office. Michael Williams was appointed interim mayor, and on March 4, 2008, Tom Swisstack was elected mayor for the remaining two years of Jackson's term.
Green2V controversy 
In the Spring of 2010, several political leaders, including Governor Richardson and Senators Bingamen and Udall, announced plans for a 1,000,000-square-foot (93,000 m2) solar manufacturing plant. The Rio Rancho City Council passed an inducement resolution based on recommendations from city staff. Multiple sources investigated the promised $500 million funding source only to find that no corporation was registered where proponents claimed. Funding never materialized. The inducement resolution has been withdrawn. The City Council funded infrastructure for the proposed site using $7.2 million in borrowed funds. The City of Rio Rancho is now looking to recover an additional $14,000 in legal fees. Rio Rancho Economic Development is now marketing the site as an industrial location.[verification needed]
Rio Rancho Public Schools serve students in Rio Rancho.
Rio Rancho has two major public high schools:
The weekly Rio Rancho Observer is the local newspaper, while Rio Ranchoans also have access to television and radio broadcasts from Albuquerque as well as the daily newspaper Albuquerque Journal, along with its localized semi-weekly version the Rio Rancho Journal."
Rio Rancho is also served by a government-access television (GATV) channel, that is available only through the city's only cable television provider Cable ONE. This channel shows all of the government meetings on multiple showings.
Albuquerque's transit department, ABQ RIDE, operates a bus route (251 Albuquerque-Rio Rancho Rail Runner Connection) connecting Rio Rancho with the New Mexico Rail Runner Express station at Journal Center. There is a proposed regional transportation taxing district.
In late January 2011, ABQ RIDE extended two additional routes (96 Crosstown Commuter and 155 Coors Blvd), as well as introducing an additional route (551 Jefferson/Paseo Del Norte Express) into Rio Rancho. The northern terminus of these routes are at Southern Blvd and Unser Blvd.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Table 4: Annual Estimates of the Population for Incorporated Places in New Mexico, Listed Alphabetically: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2007 (SUB-EST2007-04-35)". US Census Bureau, Population Division. 2008-07-10. Retrieved 2008-09-19.
- "Rio Rancho Profile". City of Rio Rancho. Archived from the original on 2008-06-23. Retrieved 2008-09-18.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "Average Weather for Rio Rancho, New Mexico". The Weather Channel. Retrieved 2012-09-02.
- "Community Overview - Rio Rancho, New Mexico" (PDF). Rio Rancho Economic Development Corporation. January 2007. Retrieved 2008-09-23.[dead link]
- Mexico, New (2009-01-08). "HP breaks ground on Rio Rancho center".
- Interactive Map: The Economy Where You Live, from NPR.
- Treweek, Tom (2006-12-18). "Council agrees unanimously to fire Jim Palenick: Former mayor seeks AG investigation on city's open meetings act violation". Rio Rancho Observer. Retrieved 2008-09-23.
- Rayburn, Rosalie (2008-08-08). "Palenick-City Dispute Alive". Albuquerque Journal. Retrieved 2008-09-23.
- "Rio Rancho Mayor Officially Submits Resignation Letter". Albuquerque Journal. 2007-07-17. Retrieved 2008-09-23.
- Fort, Caleb (2007-07-18). "Mayor of Rio Rancho calls it quits". Albuquerque Tribune. Retrieved 2008-09-23.
- Treweek, Tom (2007-09-07). "Former mayor seeks comeback: Williams will run for council". Rio Rancho Observer. Retrieved 2008-09-23.
- "Rio Rancho backs Swisstack, university tax". KRQE-TV. 2008-03-04. Retrieved 2008-09-23.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Rio Rancho, New Mexico|
- City of Rio Rancho
- Rio Rancho Convention & Visitors Bureau
- Rio Rancho Economic Development Corporation
- Rio Rancho Journal
- Rio Rancho Observer
- Fall 2011 City of Rio Rancho Development Video