Spirit of Los Ranchos is Alive and Well

 September is always a fabulous time to be in the Village of Los Ranchos. The sights, sounds and smells of harvest and of early fall surround us.  

As you will read our feature story on page 22, you realize the Village has had periods of bounty and periods of scarcity.  Through our history of vibrancy and destruction, the land and the agricultural use of the land has been our hallmark.  

Our modern forefathers saw the threat to Los Ranchos, not from the river, but from development coming from our neighbor city to the south, Albuquerque. For them, protection came only through incorporation and self-determination as a municipality.  

Our Board of Trustees continues to honor and validate this commitment to maintaining the lifestyle of Los Ranchos and the vision of those forefathers.  

Concurrently, we are taking the steps toward improvements to the business district along Fourth Street that will create a vibrant business sector that will complement the residential and lifestyle attributes of Los Ranchos.  

Fortunately, as many of us recognize, we have a strong start with the existing businesses located in Los Ranchos.  The survey of businesses conducted last year by Sites Southwest, highlighted the assets and opportunities along Fourth Street.  

The clusters of businesses include; antique dealers, health and wellness related retailers and service providers, restaurants, automotive parts, service and sales, veterinarian and animal care services, feed, tack and ranch supplies, and small-scale manufacturing with associated retail outlets.  

The Spirit of Los Ranchos is alive and well and will only get better as we start to make improvements to Fourth Street. It will not be an easy undertaking and one that will require patience and understanding from all of our residents and businesses. Our biggest challenge will be striking a balance between our commercial corridor and our adjacent neighborhoods. It is imperative that we send a message to our business community that we are not only open for business but embrace the current and new businesses with open arms, minds, and pocketbooks.

We have one of the greatest opportunities ahead of us and I challenge everyone to imagine what we can be if we just pull together as a community. I ask that we welcome the new businesses that are willing to invest in our community.  Let's give them a chance to become integrated into our community.

I encourage you to explore and shop the wonderful businesses along Fourth Street.  

I further encourage you to reach out to the new businesses and thank them for choosing Los Ranchos as their home. An alphabetical listing of all Village businesses can be found on the Village website at www.losranchosnm.gov.

- Larry P. Abraham, Mayor

Posted on August 21, 2015 .

Building a Strong Sustainable Community

Summer is here - happy Fourth of July. Have fun and help keep the community and your neighborhood safe by exercising caution when using fireworks. Los Ranchos is  again looking beautiful with the grass, trees and plants in full bloom.

The Los Ranchos Growers' Market is open every Saturday from 7:00 a.m. to noon. On July 11, make sure to come enjoy the Lavender and Garlic Celebration. The market will have extended hours and opportunities to learn about lavender and garlic and, of course, purchase fresh produce and handmade arts and craft items. You can read a little more about the event and see the day's schedule in the Ditch Writer column on page 11.

We are pleased that Vintage Albuquerque, one of the premier charity events in the area, benefiting arts education, has chosen Los Ranchos as their permanent home. I would like to welcome Vintage Albuquerque to Los Ranchos. For the past two years, their dinner and live auction event has been held at Los Poblanos Inn and Cultural Center. We are working with Vintage Albuquerque to relocate their Friday night wine tasting to the Agri-Nature Center starting in 2016. You can learn more about the organization and the wonderful work they do to support arts education in schools and through private not-for-profit organizations at www.vintagealbuquerque.org.  

We want to recognize and thank John Calvin of Casa Rondeña Winery for honoring the Village with two special blends that pay tribute to the rich history and cultural significance of Los Ranchos. The book, Shining River, Precious Land, authored by Los Ranchos residents, Kit Sergeant and Mary Davis, detailed this history through the archeological discoveries of Sargeant. So it is very appropriate that Calvin named one blend Shining River and the other Precious Land.

Calvin is also hosting Los Ranchos Day at the winery on September 12. We are excited about the plans for the day that include, food, music, wine and celebration of Los Ranchos.  The details are being finalized and we will help him promote the event through the Village's website, Facebook page and throughout the magazine, so look for more to come on the event soon.

As the summer gets into full swing, I want to remind everyone to shop and dine with our local merchants and restaurants. We have some unique and treasured businesses along Fourth Street and shopping with them helps to build a strong and sustainable community.

- Larry P. Abraham, Mayor

Posted on June 23, 2015 .

Establishing a "Sense of Place" and Pride for the Village

 Thank you to all our residents and business owners who participated in the planning meetings and focus groups for our Fourth Street Revitalization and Redesign Project. I would especially like to thank the Planning and Zoning Commissioners and the Trustees for voting to approve continuation of the project onto the next phase. Their recognition of the importance of the revitalization of Fourth Street speaks to the commitment to the project expressed at every level of the Village.

The ultimate goal is to provide Los Ranchos residents and businesses with a core live, work and play environment to boost our local economy and sustain a vibrant corridor with sidewalks, landscaping, pocket parks and sense of Los Ranchos’ unique history and culture.

In short, this economic development project will ultimately provide Los Ranchos residents and businesses with a sense of place for which we all can take pride. In doing so, we hope to achieve the following goals:

  • Provide our current businesses with a more vibrant and conducive environment to conduct business; 
  • Make Fourth Street a destination for economic activity;
  • Slow down traffic;
  • Improve street lighting for safety;
  • Make Fourth Street pedestrian friendly with sidewalks and street crossings;
  • Create gateways to the Village.

The Village was incorporated in 1958; however, the majority of Fourth Street was not annexed until thirty years later. Previous administrations were forward thinking to annex a commercial district for Los Ranchos. Unfortunately, there was never a plan to integrate the businesses into the community. In fact, up until ten years ago many businesses still used Albuquerque as their address. As we know, it is very hard to form a sense of place, a sense of pride, and a cohesive community when the name of the community is not universally embraced. The good news today is that we are moving past those earlier challenges and have a solid plan for the future development of Fourth Street.

For more than twenty years, our Village has acknowledged that the present design on Fourth Street needs improvement.  Discussions about Fourth Street have divided our community and even resulted in costly lawsuits but the end result still remains that something needs to be done. We have not had a consensus on what improvements we need until now.

After a very thorough public involvement process we have united as a community, both business and residential, around a design that will define and sustain Los Ranchos for not only the next couple of years but, most importantly, for the next twenty to thirty years. We are excited by the energy and enthusiasm that surrounds this project. We will keep you posted on our progress. For more information regarding all the discussions to-date, current design proposal, and related items, please visit our website at www.losranchosnm.gov.


- Larry P. Abraham, Mayor

Posted on May 28, 2015 .

Village of Los Ranchos Featured in Trend Magazine!

The Village of Los Ranchos was recently featured in Trend Magazine's Spring 2015 issue.  Click here to view the 8-page spread.  The Village Hall, located here, has a limited supply available.  To find out where else you can get a copy, visit TRENDmagazineglobal.com.

Trend mission is to explore and celebrate New Mexico’s uniqueness while emphasizing both its timeless aesthetic and its evolving contemporary art forms. Trend has developed a unique niche that reflects the distinctive expressions that flow throughout this artistic community. Trend highlights the best of what’s happening in New Mexico and the Southwest to the region—as well as the rest of the world.

Trend upholds the highest of journalistic standards as they convey the art of living well through stunning photography, provocative features, and reader-friendly departments, all designed to surprise, delight, and inform. Nowhere else in the world is there such a fascinating intermingling of cultural influences, tradition, and innovation. In the pages of Trend you’ll find the entire spectrum of the art, architecture, design, cuisine, and people that make the Southwest a mecca for design and art lovers from around the world.

Posted on April 29, 2015 .

A Saturday Morning Tradition in Los Ranchos

I hope everyone is having a great spring. One of my favorite times of the year in Los Ranchos is the month of May. This is the start of the regular season our annual Growers' Market. This year we are celebrating the 23rd year of the founding of the Growers' Market. The market represents the essence of why most of us live in Los Ranchos. It is also where all of us get to mingle on a Saturday morning, meet our neighbors and reacquaint ourselves with friends who we have not seen since last summer. I want to take this opportunity to thank all of the volunteers for their tireless efforts that go into organizing the Grower's Market each and every Saturday morning. I want to extend a special thank you to Sue Brawley for taking a lead role in coordinating the market.

This iconic Saturday morning event does not happen without a lot of volunteers and a grower community that is dedicated to creating what I believe is the greatest market in New Mexico. The Los Ranchos Growers' Market is not only a people friendly place, but also pet friendly. It has become a tradition for many people to come to the market with their pets on Saturday morning and let their pets socialize along with them.

The opening day of this year’s regular market season is Saturday, May 2. There are, on average, nearly 50 vendors each week; however, the market is much more than just fruits and vegetables. Every week there is a local musician and, on any given Saturday, there are special events from guest chefs, “ask the experts”, old vehicles, a canine celebration and a costume day, plus many special local business spotlights and more.

At the same time, the Los Ranchos Arts & Crafts Market shares the tennis court parking lot and Hartnett Park with the market. Enjoy a wide variety of handmade products such as pottery, clothing, jewelry and so much more. Just as with the Growers' Market, the Arts & Crafts Market takes the hard work of volunteers to make it happen each week. So thank you to all those who are making our summer weekends so special.

In other news, the Village will resurface and re-stripe the tennis courts. We anticipate this project to start on May 11 and be completed by May 29. It will be done in phases so there will always be a few tennis courts available. We will also be upgrading the playground and park equipment. Additionally, I am very pleased and excited to announce the appointment of three new Planning and Zoning Commissioners. They are Tom Riccobene, Debbra Colman and Jeff Phillips. These three individuals represent a broad cross section of the Village and, most importantly, are passionate about protecting our rural atmosphere and lifestyle.

We continue to move forward on the Fourth Street Revitalization Improvement Project. By the time you are reading this, it is expected that Sites Southwest would have presented their final recommendations to both the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Board of Trustees. We remain excited by the prospect of improving the roadway in support of our local businesses now and in the future. The Village is committed to seeing this project to completion.  In the winter issue of the Village Vision Magazine, we highlighted the many Village businesses that won Best of the City Awards from Albuquerque the Magazine. However, we failed to include Canine Country Club and Feline Inn, a staple in our Village for more than 20 years. We are proud to say they have won Best of the City awards for many years. This year, they won the 2015 Best Pet Boarding and were listed in the top five for Best Doggy Day Care and Best Pet Grooming. Checkout page 14 of the Los Ranchos Village Vision Magazine for more information by clicking here.

- Larry P. Abraham, Mayor

Posted on April 9, 2015 .

Chase Hardware Saying Goodbye

It is with mixed emotions that I write this Mayor’s Report.  As you may have heard Chase Hardware will be closing within the next couple of months. Rich Alberti has been operating Chase since 1978. He has sold the property and is starting the next chapter of his life. In talking with Rich he told me, with a forlorn look, that "It is time.” He is turning 65 and he wants to do things that he has always wanted to do, but has never had the time. It is not easy to close a business especially one that is so well respected in the community.

For Rich, it is time to retire. He has plans to get married, do some traveling and just plain take it easy. This is a very tough decision, which he has toiled over, but he knows in his own mind that this is the right decision. We discussed how times have changed over the years and how difficult it is for a brick and mortar business to flourish in this struggling economy. His first desire was that someone who wanted to continue in the  hardware business would buy Chase. He searched for a year for someone who could succeed him in a similar business but his efforts came up empty.

It is interesting to hear him speak of how a customer will come in and say they had just been at a Lowe's or Home Depot and that store did not have the part they needed. They proceed to say how they knew Chase would have the part and this somehow was supposed to be a compliment. Unfortunately, this is not what a businessperson wants to hear as it emphasizes how much modern day business has changed. Today’s businesses have to compete not only with the big box stores but also with the Internet and Amazon. He pointed to the Lowe's store on Twelfth Street which really had an impact on his sales. He also commented on how it is not unusual for a customer to come in and check prices on their smart phone.  

Reminiscing on the past, Rich reflected about how his sales have been flat over the last five years while his expenses have increased over that same period. He also talked about the many friends he made in Los Ranchos and how much he appreciated the support of the community.

He spoke on how several of his employees have been with him for 25 years. He anticipates being totally closed by the end of April when the new buyers will be taking over.  Chase Hardware, Rich Alberti and his loyal employees, Charlie and Sandy, will be sadly missed. We wish them well and hope the next chapter in their lives is rewarding and full of happiness. The entire Chase family has earned a little time off. We want them to know that they will always hold a special place in our hearts and our Village. We want to wish Rich the best of luck in his next adventure and thank him for playing such a vital role in the history of Los Ranchos.  

On another note, we would like to welcome Weck’s to the Village. Weck’s recently opened in the old JB’s location at 6621 Fourth Street. We are looking forward to their success and enjoying a fine meal at our newest restaurant.  We would also like to welcome Mark Abramson. He is the new owner of the Los Ranchos Gun Shop at 6542 Fourth Street. He purchased the business at the first of the year and we wish him well and are pleased that he has chosen to remain in Los Ranchos.

- Larry P. Abraham, Mayor

Posted on February 26, 2015 .

New Year Goals, Directions and Congratulations to Village Businesses

I would like to wish everyone a very happy and prosperous New Year! As I enter my 11th year as mayor, I very much remain honored, humbled, and proud to be able to serve Los Ranchos. My passion for our community is as strong as it was 11 years ago. We have a great business, residential and agricultural community that is robust and vibrant and it will only continue to get stronger and flourish in the coming years. Our administration and staff are unequalled in their passion and desire to improve Los Ranchos for the betterment of all.  

We have set some lofty goals for 2015 and a long-range plan through 2020. We have designed a road map for our employees that will ensure the timely success of our goals.  

Our Village is among the strongest if not the strongest municipality in the state when it comes to financial stability.  

I am very encouraged with the progress of our Fourth Street Revitalization effort. It has received an enormous amount of support and input. Our design team has been carefully listening to our community and adjusting the project design accordingly. I am further encouraged by the amount of enthusiasm our business community has shown for this project.  

We all should be so proud of our businesses that were mentioned and highlighted numerous times in the latest “Best of the City Awards” in the recent issue of Albuquerque The Magazine. As reflected in the centerfold in this issue of the Village Vision, Los Ranchos businesses were mentioned over 30 times, garnering numerous awards in various categories.  

Imagine when you combine the synergy of all of our businesses with the creation of a distinct and unique shopping district along Fourth Street, Los Ranchos will be a dominant force among the metropolitan area shopping destinations. To add to this strength as a destination, we have several businesses that adjoin Los Ranchos such as Farm and Table and El Bruno’s. Additionally, I would like to welcome Weck’s as the latest entrant into Los Ranchos.  Weck’s is moving into the old JB’s restaurant near the corner of Fourth and Osuna.  

Los Ranchos has a great opportunity in the coming years to meld our unique residential lifestyle with our business community. Our elected leaders in the eighties were forward thinking when they annexed Fourth Street into the Village. Unfortunately, I feel they failed all of us when they did not provide these same businesses with ordinances and a support system to take advantage of being part of a unique community. It is my desire to rectify this and give to our business community the same support that has made our residential community so unique.  

Our revitalization efforts will not happen overnight. I am confident that if we all share a vision and pull together as a team we will make Los Ranchos a residential and business destination that future generations will be proud of.  

I can’t help but remember when I saw my first “Best of the City” nearly 10 years ago. I was disappointed to see that the few mentions our businesses had, listed Albuquerque as their address. Now Los Ranchos is a prominent fixture in the Magazine. I can’t wait to see where we will be at in the next ten years. 

I wish a Happy New Year to all of our residents and businesses. Thank you for your continued support.

- Larry P. Abraham, Mayor

Posted on January 29, 2015 .

Congratulations to the Elected Officials

As I write this column the Village is experiencing another magnificent fall with the changing colors, cooler temperatures and the flights of ducks, geese and cranes. Our Village is truly a special place to live, work, play and raise our families.

This is also the time of year of the annual Los Ranchos North Fourth Holiday Stop and Shop. The Stop and Shop will be held on December 6 and 7. This is a great time to get reacquainted with the diverse merchants that make our Village a special place to shop and dine. It is a great opportunity to give a unique gift or gift certificate to that special person for the holidays. From chocolates, ceramics, clothing, jewelry, wine, antiques, collectibles, decorator items, and fine art, there is something for everyone.

In October, Los Ranchos played host to what we hope what will be come the Annual First Responders 5k run/walk. Our beloved Bernalillo County sheriff deputy Robin Hopkins, was on hand to welcome and cheer on the participants. She remains an inspiration to all of us as she faces her injuries and recovery with grace and good cheer. Her motto has become "every step is a gift." We continue to support and encourage her. Read about the event on page 14 of the magazine by clicking here.

I am also glad to see the elections are over and we can now, once again, answer our home phones or go to our mailboxes and not be subjected to the negative energy that was put into this year’s election. Win or lose, an elected official has to have a thick skin and be devoted to public service and I want to especially congratulate the elected officials with whom we will be working closely over the next several years.

Bernalillo County will have a new Sheriff, Manny Gonzales. He is very familiar with our Village and is a well qualified law enforcement officer. We have worked well with Sheriff Gonzales in the past and look forward to his leadership once again. Commissioner O’Malley was re-elected and played an important part in the passage of the “open space” mil levy. Tanya Giddings was re-elected as County Assessor.

Ms. Giddings understands the diverse nature of our Village. In House District 15, Sarah Maestas Barnes won in a hotly contested race. I look forward to working with Representative Barnes. She grew up in the north valley and attended Taylor Middle School and resides in the north valley.

As many of you may have noticed, we have been doing a considerable amount of roadwork and stripping as well as extending the bike lanes on north Rio Grande. We appreciate your patience and understanding while these projects are completed.

Our Fourth Street Revitalization project continues to take shape and I appreciate all the input from our residents and businesses as we try to develop a long-range plan to make our business community more sustainable.

I wish everyone a very prosperous and safe holiday season!

- Larry P. Abraham, Mayor

Posted on November 18, 2014 .

Village Receives Insightful Public Input on Fourth Street Project

We have all been experiencing the changing of the leaves, the smells and tastes of fresh roasted green chile, and the cool crisp air of fall.  

We are excited about the progress that we are making on the revitalization plan for Fourth Street. We have included a summary of the progress and preliminary images that reflect the input from business and property owners along Fourth Street and the community at-large. We are still encouraging your input. Resident and business owner surveys are still available through our website and survey monkey. Also, the latest PowerPoint presentation of ideas and research on Fourth Street is available on our Village website. Please take a look and feel free to comment on what you see.  

On Saturday, October 26, 2013, three Albuquerque police officers were shot. In the same incident, Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Deputy Robin Hopkins sustained severe injuries when she was shot in front of the Los Ranchos / Bernalillo County Fire Station #30 on Fourth Street. Emergency responders rushed her to University of New Mexico Hospital where she immediately underwent two surgeries.  She is currently enduring a long, tough road to recovery.  One year later, we hope to turn the tragic events of October 26, 2013, into a day of remembrance and perseverance. It  will also be an opportunity to welcome community support and foster community relations between first responders and the communities they serve.

Please join us this October 26 at Hartnett Park for a commemorative run/walk and an opportunity to celebrate the hard working men and women on the front line of public safety. See the article inside this issue on page 15 for additional details.

I would like to congratulate my fellow area public servants who, along with me, received the Mid-Region Council of Governments 2014 Leadership Award. MRCOG and its member organizations are dedicated to regional solutions to the problems we all face. I have enjoyed the opportunity to represent Los Ranchos at this important organization and on several boards such as the Rio Metro which operates the Rail Runner.

- Larry P. Abraham, Mayor

Posted on October 10, 2014 .