Sunland Park, New Mexico
|Sunland Park, New Mexico|
Statue of Christ the King (by Urbici Soler) on Mount Cristo Rey in Sunland Park
Location of Sunland Park, New Mexico
|• Mayor||Javier Perea|
|• City Manager||Vernon Wilson|
|• City Clerk||Alejandro Villescas|
|• Total||10.8 sq mi (28.0 km2)|
|• Land||10.6 sq mi (27.3 km2)|
|• Water||0.2 sq mi (0.6 km2)|
|Elevation||3,789 ft (1,155 m)|
|Time zone||Mountain (MST) (UTC-7)|
|• Summer (DST)||MDT (UTC-6)|
|GNIS feature ID||0920024|
Sunland Park, New Mexico is a city in southern Doña Ana County, on the borders of Texas and the Mexican state of Chihuahua, with Ciudad Juarez adjoining it on the south and El Paso, Texas on the east. The unincorporated communities of Santa Teresa and La Union adjoin it on the northwest and north, respectively. The population of Sunland Park was 18,204 at the 2010 census. Though it lies adjacent to El Paso, being in Doña Ana County makes it a part of the Las Cruces Metropolitan Statistical Area. Las Cruces is 30 miles to the north.
The city is at the foot of Mount Cristo Rey, next to the Rio Grande, and is named for Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino, which lies within the city limits. The location was formerly called Anapra, a name shared by an adjacent slum area of Ciudad Juarez.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 11.4 square miles (28.0 km²), of which, 11.2 square miles (27.4 km²) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.6 km²) of it (2.31%) is water.
As of the census of 2010, there were 14,267 people, 3,884 households, and 3,314 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,260.6 people per square mile (486.6/km²). There were 4,131 housing units at an average density of 342.6 per square mile (132.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 76.00% White, 0.63% African American, 0.51% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 26.02% from other races, and 2.76% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 96.44% of the population.
There were 3,884 households out of which 44.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.% were married couples living together, 24.% had a female householder with no husband present, and 11.5% were non-families. 12.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 3.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.63 and the average family size was 3.97.
In the city, the population was spread out with 37.5% under the age of 18, 11.9% from 20 to 24, 7.6% from 25 to 29, 6.6% from 45 to 64, and 7.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 28.8 years. For every 100 females there were 93.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.4 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $25,990. and the median income for a family was $27,110. Males had a median income of $17,838 versus $15,129 for females. The per capita income for the city was $10,757. About 41.2% of families and 42.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 55.4% of those under age 18 and 39.8% of those age 65 or over.
On August 2, 2012 Javier Perea was re-appointed Mayor of Sunland Park. He began official duties on April 18, 2012. At the urging of the State of New Mexico the city conducted a search for the position of City Manager. On December 17th 2013, Vernon Wilson was selected to fill the long vacant position. He is a retired US Army Officer whose other government service includes over 10 years as manager of the nearby Dona Ana County International Jetport. His first day of employment was January 5th, 2014. 
Sunland Park is served by the Gadsden Independent School District, which operates the following schools located in the city:
- Santa Teresa High School
- Santa Teresa Middle School
- Desert View Elementary School
- Riverside Elementary School
- Sunland Park Elementary School
Sunland Park also has a branch campus of Dona Ana Community College, a two-year college which is a branch of New Mexico State University.
Sunland Park was formed when the unincorporated communities of Anapra, Sunland Park and Meadow Vista voted to incorporate as Sunland Park on July 13, 1983.
2012 corruption scandal
In February 2012, then Mayor-Pro Tem Daniel Salinas and City Manager Jaime Aguilera were arrested and charged with extorting mayoral candidate Gerardo Hernandez. Salinas and Aguilera allegedly tried to blackmail Hernandez into withdrawing from the race with a videotape of Hernandez receiving a lap-dance in his campaign office.
An election for Mayor was held in March, 2012 with Daniel Salinas winning the mayor’s office, but Salinas was denied taking office due to extortion, bribery, and election fraud charges filed against him which disqualified him from taking an oath of office.
In April 2012, city councilors appointed 24-year-old Javier Perea for the vacant mayoral post. Perea is a graduate of Santa Teresa High School, and earned a bachelor's degree from New Mexico State University. On April 27, 2012, Perea stepped down from the position after the office of Attorney General Gary King declared that the city council violated the state’s Open Meetings Act when it selected Perea.
Points of interest
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Brian Fraga, , Las Cruces Sun-News, August 2, 2012
- rnikolewski, , Capital Report - New Mexico, May 1, 2012
- Diana Alba Soular, , El Paso Times, April 19, 2012
- rnikolewski, , Capital Report - New Mexico, May 14, 2012