Rio Rancho Turns 40!

Rio Rancho Turns 40!

Posted on April 9, 2021

The city of Rio Rancho, home to Mariposa, is celebrating turning the big 4-0! Throughout 2021, Rio Rancho plans to honor and celebrate the past, present and future with a variety of historic activities and events. Check back with us for updated events that will continue to pop up throughout 2021. Mariposa is proud to be a part of Rio Rancho with over 600 homes built and hundreds of residents. Here’s a few fun ways to celebrate the anniversary, followed by a timeline of some of the city’s notable milestones!

Get involved with Rio Rancho’s 40th:

Project Scrapbook

From Feb. 22 through May 29, 2021, citizens can create a scrapbook page detailing their life in the City of Rio Rancho. Collect a scrapbook started kit from Loma Colorado Main Library, Esther Bone Memorial Library, the Rio Rancho Aquatics Center, or M’tucci’s Moderno. Complete your scrapbook page and return it to any location. Pages will be put into a physical and digital scrapbook.

Share Your Rio Rancho Story
The city invites residents to record your Rio Rancho story or to interview a Rio Rancho citizen via StoryCorps Connect. Download the StoryCorps app to your mobile device or visit in on your desktop, create your free account, prepare questions (make up your own or click here to download sample questions), record, save, and share it with the City of Rio Rancho’s 40th Anniversary community. 

Rio Rancho Restaurant Bingo
Rio Rancho Restaurant Bingo was developed by the City of Rio Rancho’s Business Community and Economic Recovery Task Force as a way for citizens to support Rio Rancho business during this pandemic. An easy way to support local business, but also gives resident’s a chance to win gift certificates ranging from $25 to $500!

Visit the Rio Rancho Bingo Website, download bingo cards, make a purchase at the locations listed and complete one row on the bingo card to create Bingo. Then upload pictures of your receipts and bingo cards to share the fun you’re having. Visit the Bingo website for more information.

Rio Rancho Milestones

A company known as AMREP purchased the Koontz Family Ranch and more than 55,000 acres of land northwest of Albuquerque in Sandoval County, NM.

The first two known residents moved into Rio Rancho Estates, an AMREP development, in 1962. From the 1960s – 1970s, AMREP marketed Rio Rancho as a retirement community and sold thousands of vacant lots to people from locations such as the Midwest — many sight unseen. Most of the lots were not prepared with infrastructure, demonstrating a lack of planning and antiquated platting.


AMREP had acquired up to 92,000 acres, continuing the growth of Rio Rancho. By now, Rio Rancho had 2,500 residents and its first shopping center was welcomed.

Rio Rancho’s first elementary school opened.

AMREP sold 

Intel Corporation 160 acres of prime industrial land at a discounted price in their efforts to attract quality business to Rio Rancho. Sandoval County issued the largest amount of Industrial Revenue Bonds in the history of New Mexico. The Albert Black Family donated 2.5 miles of wastewater easement to connect the Intel plant to the City of Albuquerque’s wastewater master planned line. This was just what the city needed to continue to grow.

Rio Rancho incorporated and became the City of Rio Rancho.

AMREP built their 55,000 square foot headquarters on NM 528. They continued to expand their homebuilding portfolio with higher-priced homes and selling lots to outside home builders.

Rio Rancho Independent School District opens. Plans are constructed for Rio Rancho Public Schools to open throughout the city. Population exceeds 32,000.

A $41 million multipurpose arena began construction, and the development of a new City Hall was underway.

The $120 million Sue Cleveland High School opened in northern Rio Rancho in the State Land Offices’ Paseo Gateway project in northern Rio Rancho. This has become one of the area’s top schools known for its quality of instruction and tremendous extracurricular and athletic opportunities provided for students.

Construction of the new $150 million UNM Sandoval County Hospital was underway and opened in 2012 in northern Rio Rancho. The 160-acre campus includes a teaching program.

Mariposa East, LP, an affiliate of Harvard Investments, Inc. purchased Mariposa East in 2014. Situated on 6,500 acres of high desert in Rio Rancho, Mariposa East will include 2,500 single-family homes at completion, and today includes a community center, office/retail space and a large park. The LEED Silver certified community center includes indoor/outdoor pools, a state-of-the-art fitness center and a community gathering area. With ten miles of walking/biking paths, numerous parks and playing fields and the 2,200 acre Mariposa Preserve, the community is an outdoor enthusiasts’ dream.

The City of Rio Rancho is considered the third largest city in New Mexico. Population is continuing to grow with 96,000 residents. Family Circle Magazine names the City of Rio Rancho one of the “Top Ten Cities in America.”

The City of Rio Rancho works closely with local organizations and agencies to ensure the safety of its people during the world-wide pandemic. Citizens of the city continue to do their part, including supporting local business and coming to the aid of neighbors affected by the virus.

Rio Rancho reaches its highest population of 101,570 in 2021, spanning across 104 miles. The City of Rio Rancho celebrates turning 40 and looks forward to the future of the city

The Mariposa community is honored to be a part of this great city and provide a beautiful community for the citizens of Rio Rancho. Find out more about Mariposa and what makes it the premier master-planned community in Northern New Mexico by visiting



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