Rio Rancho community, businesses preparing for massive construction project | KOB 4
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Rio Rancho community, businesses preparing for massive construction project

Ryan Laughlin
September 24, 2018 08:35 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Significant traffic slowdowns will await Rio Rancho commuters on Monday morning when construction begins on phase one of Southern Boulevard's makeover, as traffic cones will stretch from Golf Course to Highway 528.

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The $14.5 million project's potential impact on businesses has been a critical issue for city leaders. Nico Ortiz, owner of Turtle Mountain Brewing Company, says he's bracing for that impact.

"It happened at the same time as the ART project was going on in Albuquerque, and that was obviously an example of (a) poorly executed project," he said.

Many in the community have been working to make sure the area doesn't have Albuquerque Rapid Transit 2.0 on its hands, cutting critical avenues to businesses like Ortiz's. 

"(We have) to make sure that every business has access and every business name will be on the road," said Jerry Schalow, president of the Rio Rancho Chamber of Commerce. "Revenue will drop off for the individual businesses and they'll have to tighten their belt."

But the community has been proactive, coming up with the S.O.S. plan, as in "shop on Southern," to soften the blow.

"We want our businesses to survive and thrive during this time period," Rio Rancho Mayor Gregory Hull said.

"Shop on Southern" is a targeted marketing campaign to attract new businesses and promote existing ones over the next year. So far, current business owners in the area are buying in.

Kicking off the local business-central plan: a special Oktoberfest celebration at Turtle Mountain.

"The city and the chamber have done everything in their power to make sure it's as minimized as possible," Ortiz said.

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Ryan Laughlin

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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