Village of Ruidoso, New Mexico – Lincoln County

March 4, 2024

Village of Ruidoso, New Mexico

The emerging business frontier worth exploring


An untamed ecosphere where wild horses run free among the snow-capped peaks.

Set against an inspiring backdrop, the enchanting Village of Ruidoso, New Mexico, is certain to capture your heart. It is also a village gem that is capturing the pulse of possibilities. Sheltered among the Sierra Blanca mountain range, Ruidoso offers a unique blend of rustic charm intertwined with unlimited promise.

The village derived its name from the Spanish term “ruido,” meaning noisy. This designation refers to the Rio Ruidoso River, which flows tumultuously from Sierra Blanca to the Hondo Valley, creating a boisterous commotion as it thunders over the river rocks.

With deer, elk, and wild horses roaming freely, Ruidoso’s outdoor amenities are a tremendous incentive for tourists and active residents. Lynn D. Crawford, Mayor, and CEO of Ruidoso, affirms, “The lakes are a major draw with trout fishing, biking, and hiking trails.”

Pinnacle Trail Systems offers mountain bike instruction and guiding services. Fort Stanton Equestrian Trail Head is open to visitors and offers 93 miles of sustainable trails for hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking. Grindstone Lake Trails are 14 miles of custom-built mountain biking trails, with hiking and horseback riding allowed.

The town’s magnetism is not only its aesthetics and activities but its inhabitants. “We have a tremendously positive community full of volunteers for our programs,” states Crawford. “There is a volunteer committee for everything, from Parks and Rec to the Cemetery Board.”

Ruidoso is the largest municipality in Lincoln County and serves as the regional economic hub. With 1.9 million annual visitors, it is not surprising this territory’s primary industry is tourism.


Noisy Water Winery in Midtown

A Progressive Marketing System, Capital Projects, and Funding

Last year, the Village of Ruidoso committed to developing a 5-year comprehensive marketing plan. Kerry Gladden, from PR & Media Relations, says, “As we were putting the prospectus together, it became clear we needed to transition from a destination marketing organization to a destination marketing and management system.”

During COVID, people flocked to the area, escaping the high infection rates and tension in larger municipalities. Although Ruidoso still welcomed tourists, this influx of city-fleers raised fundamental questions for Gladden. “How do we manage the population? How do we convince visitors to travel responsibly?” This is where the management system comes into play.

After conceiving the plan, Ruidoso’s leaders sprang into action and reconstructed Gavlin Canyon, Warrior Drive, and Paradise roadways. Upon arrival, the first thing travelers experience is the thoroughfares, and the town is succeeding in its efforts to supply the best possible transportation network. Ron Sena, Village Manager, explains, “We were fortunate to receive funding from the Department of Transportation (DOT).”

For the repairs, it was critical to hire Cutler Repaving, Inc. because of its hot-in-place and single-pass repaving methods, saving time and taxpayer dollars. With today’s fiscal and environmental issues, Cutler’s recycling process is an important part of maintenance programs.

New Mexico’s DOT funds 95% of these ventures, with a 5% match from the town. Ruidoso received another 1.5 million and repaired three more roads. “That went through the same process with Cutler,” adds Sena.

An ongoing venture is the $20 million, decade-long investment in the Village of Ruidoso-owned Sierra Blanca Regional Airport (SBRA). Sena emphasizes, “Investing in airport infrastructure is an investment in the financial vitality of our region.” The airport is a key driver of movement, connecting Ruidoso to the nation.

Another upgrade is high-speed fiber installation. “We signed a multi-million-dollar contract with Kinetic Windstream, who is completing the work now,” says Mayor Crawford. “We are just getting off DSL in some cases.” This necessary expense will improve the lives of residents and boost the hospitality industry. During prime tourist season, businesses were so busy, they could not process credit cards because of the sluggish internet lines.

Crawford reports the town is benefiting from the investment. “The fiber draws more professionals to the area, notably the work-at-home generation that’s developed.”

A third long-term venture involves creating a leading-edge civic center called Village Hall. Ruidoso received 3.5 million from the Department of Finance towards its completion. Sena says, “We reconstructed the Municipal Court, and we are working on the Forestry area.” The center will house the Emergency Operations Center, an ultramodern dispatch unit, and storage for the police, museum, and clerk’s office.

Town officials authorized, funded, and realized vast infrastructure projects and are focusing on other ventures. While grateful for the multitude of grants, the Mayor is lobbying for more capital outlay at the New Mexico Legislature. Future grants will go towards further growth in areas such as housing.

Facing the Housing Crisis Head-On

The Village of Ruidoso has taken measures to address the crisis but still grapples with a real estate shortage. Short-term rentals experienced growth, with 98% of unoccupied properties being entire homes.

An amendment to the township’s multi-family dwelling ordinance allows the infill of vacant residential-zoned properties. The municipality intends to improve affordable accommodation options for retirees, government employees, students, and low-income persons.

Through budget allocations and funding from the state and Governor’s office, Ruidoso embarked on an 18-unit mobile home development on village-owned property. But this spunky town did not stop there. “We accessed the Mortgage Finance Authority and received a Dallas bank donation,” adds Crawford. The construction of seventeen residences is done. “They are transporting the 18th and final building block within the next couple of weeks.”

Recognizing the village’s extensive efforts, spanning from property acquisition to long-term strategies, Sena states, “We completed every task we could conceive,” highlighting the challenges and multifaceted nature of progress.

Sena is optimistic about future steps, “envisioning collaborations with local partners to discuss needs. It is all about employment housing.”


School District Training Program

Educating for a Home-Grown Workforce

With housing in mind, the Village of Ruidoso is recruiting and training young adults for their departments. Sena explains, “Everyone is having a tough time finding certified operators because they are retiring.”

As the town flourishes with new businesses entering the municipality, Sena says staffing certain areas is a struggle. “We are five employees short in our Street Department. Water and Sewer need seven qualified applicants, and Solid Waste requires four or five workers to complete their staff.” Solid Waste and some street vacancies need a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).

To help fill these vacancies, Ruidoso joined forces with Central New Mexico Community College and Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU). “We started an environmental sciences course, with learners in the Level 3 and Level 4 chemistry classes,” states Sena. Water Treatment Plant chemists receive great pay, benefits, and retirement plans, and are in demand over the state. “In addition, there are individuals enrolled in the CDL program,” Sena says, illuminating the practical and local ramification of these educational initiatives.

This hands-on approach extends to partnerships between ENMU and Ruidoso’s hospital, the Lincoln County Medical Center, who deliver classes on nursing and dialysis. The village’s commitment to internal resourcing is emphasized through wildland fire safety training, which Sena explains is essential in a community surrounded by nature’s playground. “Fires do come through here. This instruction is specific and different from standard firefighter training.”

Sena highlights the cooperation of businesses in thriving wine, brewery, and distillation sectors. “We’ve got classes at ENMU that local enterprises started in wine and beer making, and how to run that business.”

However, Ruidoso’s focus extends beyond conventional industries. Sena emphasizes a commitment to individuals working in restaurants, shops, and automotive services. “Let’s not make any mistake, it’s not only first responders we want.”

“We also had all departments, from Public Works to Forestry, tour our facilities because we want to offer high school students’ internships this summer.” This means students who do not want to attend college can receive technical qualifications. With a cost of living 6.4% lower than the U.S. average, Ruidoso surges ahead in a dynamic ecosystem where education, workforce advancement, and community collaboration intertwine.

The village’s dedication to sustainability and diverse financial sectors positions it as a model for small communities seeking resilience and adaptability. From thriving business collaborations that echo through the Sierra Blanca’s to strategic investments in the airport, Ruidoso is more than a destination—it is a powerful ecosystem of growth.

As the municipality looks ahead, its commitment to responsible tourism and community well-being stays resolute. The town’s resilience, progress, and harmonious blend of nature and enterprise define its unique character.

Ruidoso presents an unmissable opportunity to burst out of the confines of the expected and challenge the norms of traditional commerce. Embrace the potential of this smaller market—not despite its distinctiveness, but because of it.

Click The Cover To View Or Download The Brochure


the Village of Ruidoso, New Mexico

WHAT: A premier year-round playground with limitless opportunities on the horizon.

WHERE: Lincoln County, Sacramento Mountains, South-Central New Mexico.


Municipal Website for the Village of Ruidoso, NM

Official Tourism Website for the Village of Ruidoso, NM


Lincoln County Medical Center –

Big things are happening in the small, southwestern community of Ruidoso, NM. Situated in the heart of the Sierra Blanca Mountains, the village provides scenic views and healthcare you’d expect from a larger community. The new Lincoln County Medical Center provides a range of services to enhance quality of life.

Kinetic –

Kinetic is building the future of broadband in Ruidoso. Our ultrafast fiber-optic service has no data caps or annual contracts. And it’s battle-tested for reliability in Ruidoso’s abundant terrain. Experience why Forbes Home says Kinetic is one of “The 10 Best Internet Providers” in the country and why our customers say we’re a best value in price and speed.

Destiny Real Estate –

MCM Elegante Lodge & Resort –


February 2024

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