RIO COMMUNITIES — The city of Rio Communities has a long list of needs as a fledgling municipality.
The city council approved its Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan, which outlines those needs over the next several years.
During a recent council meeting, City Manager Liesa Haynes outlined the city’s ICIP for the council and the public.
“These items are big-ticket items in which we need state assistance or grants to pay for them, and they have to be in a plan before we can get that,” Haynes said. “We have to list them by priority.”
The first on the city’s priority list of needs is for a storm water and drainage infrastructure project. The city manager said the city just received $150,000 to plan for drainage.
“With this next one, we hope to implement what those improvements are,” Haynes said. “We’re asking for $1 million from the state to construct the drainage plan for the city, for arroyos, retention ponds for future and existing parks, trails, commercial properties and roadways.”
The second project the city needs funded is for public safety equipment. Haynes said the city needs $961,000 to plan, design and construct a training tower for the Rio Grande Estates Fire Department, buy an aerial ladder truck, and to purchase and equip a mobile, cascade air filling station.
The manager said the city would match those funds, whether it be 5 or 25 percent of the cost.
The third priority is pavement reconstruction on certain roads in the city. The city will be requesting $1,125,000 from the state.
Rio Communities just received a grant, based on its ICIP, for $715,000, for Golf Course Road from N.M. 304 up to Horner, and Hillindale to the Monzano Expressway.
The fourth priority is $640,000 worth of roadway beautification.
“Since we have a lot of people coming to visit our town, the council would like to plan beautification on the median of N.M. 47,” Haynes said. “We also need to plan and construct a shoulder along the 1.6 miles of N.M. 47, which would need NMDOT approval, which could slow us down.”
The city manager said the money would also help to plant trees and plants, add sidewalks, bicycle paths and benches. The first phase would to design sidewalks to ADA standards with landscaping.
The fifth ICIP priority for the city of Rio Communities is the city hall multi-use complex, which would cost $1,690,000. Now that the exterior work has been completed, Haynes said they want to focus on the interior of the building.
“First of all, we need a new roof,” she said. “Then we’re going to turn this side (the north) of the building into a recreation center, where churches and groups can meet and do fun activities here.
“Phase three is to secure a solid security system, and phase four will be to install a fire suppression system,” Haynes added. “Phase five is to establish a library. Rep. Matthew McQueen already got us $50,000 toward the library.”
Phase six is to install an electric car charging system, and phase seven is to install an electric LED sign, which alone is $40,000.
The city’s sixth priority is $5 million for a simulcast radio system for the Valencia Regional Emergency Communications Center.
The seventh priority is $860,000 for a parks and open space assessment plan. Haynes said the city is currently paying $25,000 for a parks study being conducted by three different landscape architect firms to determine where best to put parks in Rio Communities.
Based on their input, the council will then purchase park properties, and then plan and design open spaces, recreation parks, sports fields and walking, hiking and bike trails.
The last priority on the city of Rio Communities’ ICIP plan is for roadways, trails, paths and sidewalks.
“We’re asking for $1,000,050 to plan, design and construct paths, sidewalks, trails and roadways around the city,” the city manager said. “We have a lot to do citywide.”
Clara Garcia is the editor and publisher of the Valencia County News-Bulletin.
She is a native of the city of Belen, beginning her journalism career at the News-Bulletin in 1998 as the crime and courts reporter. During her time at the paper, Clara has won numerous awards for her writing, photography and typography and design both from the National Newspaper Association and the New Mexico Press Association.