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 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 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.