It was supposed to be a booming area, but it’s far from it. Now, Rio Rancho’s Governing Body is giving us an inside look at the upcoming plans to make it the new place to be.

The hope is to have Rio Rancho’s City Center be the new Downtown Rio Rancho. The city anticipates it can give residents and surrounding communities a place to not only wok, but have fun as well.

“Not often enough. Especially with the holidays coming up, I want more things to do in the area,” says Dr. Joe Kasper.

As a Rio Rancho resident, Dr. Joe Kasper says the city’s lacking in the entertainment department, but that won’t last for long.

“The site has been envisioned as an outdoor gathering space and a park that will act as an activity hub for the campus and the City Center area.”

Last month, Mayor Gregg Hull announced the City of Rio Rancho is working on building a ‘Campus Park’ at the City Center.

UNM West quickly made plans to expand within the Campus Center.

The city didn’t have a clear idea of what to put in the area, but now the city’s plans are laid out.

“The art commission and the parks and rec commission have formally approved the design you’re about to see.” 

It may not look like much right now, but soon it will have an area for people to hang out or take part in city events on a brand new lawn area.

People can also visit the proposed Sky Room and watch outdoor movies or concerts.

“Functions as an amphitheater with seating on the slope on the backside. Also, it reverses and can be a stage and a backdrop for a large gathering in this space,” says Aaron Zahm of MRWM Landscape Architects.

This project is expected to cost the city around $4 million and is broken up into at least two phases.

Mayor Hull says this plan has been in the works for a long time.

“My vision has been to make it the gravitational center. What will cause people from all the surrounding communities to gravitate towards this space?” he says.

Doctor Kasper says he can’t wait and is excited the city is finally making it happen.

“I would go at least twice a week for sure, no question about it,” he says.

Phase 1 will cost $2.5 million and will include the Sky Room, the lawn and shade structures.

Phase 2 will include signage, furniture and more shade structures. That will cost $1.5 million.

If necessary, a third phase might be in the works to include pedestrian improvements.

Construction on the city’s Campus Park and the UNM West expansion are both expected to begin in the summer of 2019.

CORRECTION: KRQE News 13 previously reported UNM Hospital would start construction on a new building within the City Center. The script has since been fixed to reflect the correct information.