All of these photos were taken on our journeys to Rio del Oro in Valencia County and the surrounding areas!
Belen, the Friendly City, is located in Central New Mexico 32 miles S of Albuquerque. The Rio Communities is three miles east of Belen and Los Lunas is 10 miles N of Belen. Its a pretty valley nestled against the Manzano Mountains on the east, and Mesas on the west.
In 2000 the population was 6901 in Belen and 10,034 in Los Lunas and Valencia County was the second fastest growing county in New Mexico. As of 2010 the population in Belen 7,269 and the population of Los Lunas is 24,877 which is a 147% growth!
The voters approved a levy for a new hospital in Belen in 2006. I had read that the proposed site of the 40 bed hospital was Rio del Oro Unit 64. Now I read that it is on Christopher Road which is on the west side of Belen close to Interstate 25. This has been a slow moving project but the project continues forward. This hospital had strong support with voters approving the levy 14,231 to 4,436. It will offer healthcare to these two towns as well as several outlying areas. I read that in September 2011 the City of Belen was paying for a feasibility study so things continue.
If you're looking for property in Rio del Oro be sure and check out when the dues are expiring. Majority of the properties here had their dues expire between 2009 and 2011 so never due again however some lots there have dues that will never expire. You can contact the Valley Improvement Association if you wish to know more about their Association. They have quite a bit of information on their website VIA.org. They are very nice people who have been extremely helpful over the years.
In February 2007 the New Mexico Rail Runner pulled into the Belen station. This is a commuter rail covering a stretch from Santa Fe, Albuquerque Los Lunas and down to Belen offering affordable and quick access to jobs for this large labor force! When we stopped by to have a look at it in 2007 the parking lot was filled!
There is power in the subdivision in the units closest to the current growth You would need to bring power to the lot or use an alternative source such as solar or generator as some of these lots are quite a ways from power.
Belen was founded in 1740 when the 2 Spaniards named Captain Don Diego Torres and Antonio Salazar who was Torres brother inlaw. They named the town Belen (Spanish for Bethlehem) in honor of that town. In 1901 the Santa Fe railroad had just finished laying down railroad tracks which has made Belen the transportation hub of New Mexico. And to this day Burlington Northern shares the central switchyards. Some days, nearly 100 trains roll through the Belen Railroad Yard hauling freight north, south, east and west to all points in North America. This is truly a wonderland for anyone who likes to watch trains.
With an average annual rainfall of 10 inches per year and snowfall of 11 inches, many people consider the climate ideal. The daytime high temperatures are in the low 90's in the summer months and daytime high temperatures are in the 50's in the winter months . The temperatures do fall below freezing during the winter months but the snow quickly melts.
With such wonderful weather conditions the area offers an abundance of recreational activities. The majestic Manzano Mountains, encompassing 36,970 acres, and the Cibola National Forest both provide unlimited opportunities for hiking trails, hunting, horseback riding, backpacking, camping etc. Belen also offers recreational swimming, soccer, volleyball, and tennis as well.
There has been quite a bit of growth in Los Lunas and Belen in the past few years and the location of these communities from Albuquerque makes it inevitable. There have been several housing projects built since I started poking my nose around here about ten years ago. Never did I imagine the growth I have seen in all of these areas in a few short years!
For more pictures and information from our journeys to this area be sure and click here - Char's own web page of Valencia County!
Statistical Information for Belen, NM