RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) –”They used to have a nice restaurant, a pretty good bar. I used to sing karaoke at the bar, and I miss it. It was a good gathering place for the community.” Club Rio Rancho is a distant memory for people who lived along it.
Story continues below:
- Crime: Police, prosecutors say more ‘Glock switch’ gun modifications turning up in Albuquerque
- KRQE Investigates: Stealing the show: How online ticket scalpers target New Mexicans
- Community: Meals on Wheels surpasses 50 years in serving meal campaign
- Legislature: Controversy continues over slew of gun bills debated in the Roundhouse
“My dad and I used to play golf there, and my dad can’t play golf anymore, so I do have fond memories of it,” Bonnie Sumner, who lives next door to the course, said. She moved into her home nine years ago because of the proximity to the golf course, but the course doesn’t exist anymore and hasn’t for a long time.
Club Rio Rancho shut down back in 2016 because of financial troubles and has been vacant since. A few years after the closure, it was purposely set on fire. And now, the deserted course is covered in coyotes. But the eye sore could soon be changing. The developer of Mesa Del Sol acquired 250 acres of Club Rio Rancho from the bank and is looking to bring new life to the city of vision.
“I looked at it as an opportunity to maybe help the city of Rio Rancho and the residents there put something there that can be special,” Steven Chavez, a managing partner of RR Mesa LLC said.
Chavez has hired architects and started a study to create a master plan of the area to see what can be built. He has a list of ideas he’d like to see on the property such as a wedding venue and housing. “Possibly a brewery or a chicken and pickle type of complex, maybe a little wine bar, martini bar, maybe a restaurant like Vintage, something special.”
Chavez says it would mimic some of the ideas they’re doing at Mesa Del Sol and believes this project will be successful despite its cursed history.”I have compiled a team that’s really good at taking on challenges and making things work and we’re excited about putting a positive type of energy on that project.”
For Sumner, she’s excited about the future of the land. She’d love to see affordable housing, a dog park, and golfers on the course again.”The two courses that were here, I’d like to see turn back into an 18-hole golf course, full clubhouse, restaurant, bar, like everything that was kind of taken away from us.”
Chavez says he hopes to have a detailed plan for the space by early next year.