By Collin Breaux
As was the case elsewhere in South Orange County, 2022 was the year during which Rancho Mission Viejo mostly got back to business as usual.
One of this year’s most notable events was the return of the Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo in August—noteworthy both because it hadn’t been held since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and also being the 20th anniversary for the event.
“Hosting the Rodeo is our way of celebrating Rancho Mission Viejo and South OC’s tremendous Western heritage, one that we feel privileged to share,” said Mike Balsamo, RMV’s Senior Vice President of Governmental Relations. “The RMV Rodeo allows us to keep our region’s cowboy culture alive while also supporting local nonprofits.”
More than $150,000 in funds from the event went to nonprofits this year, including the J.F. Shea Therapeutic Riding Center, Children’s Health of Orange County (commonly known as CHOC) and other organizations.
The year 2022 also marked the opening of Rienda, yet another new RMV neighborhood.
“The Village of Rienda opened in the spring, and 45% of the homes in Phase 1 have been sold or reserved,” Balsamo said. “Rienda is also home to Ranch Camp—a unique collection of amenities that celebrates the spirit, heritage and Culture of Care on The Ranch.”
Demand remains high, as homes are reportedly selling and closing every week.
“Perhaps most important is what we’re hearing from our buyers and residents about the unique lifestyle found on The Ranch —from all of the wonderful amenities to the thoughtful resident programming, the community is unmatched in the area,” Balsamo said. “We look forward to the future of Rancho Mission Viejo and creating a welcome and engaging place for people of all ages and life stages to call home.”
RMV further spent this year partnering with the Global Wellness Institute to enhance their communitywide focus on well-being.
“This focus extends beyond physical well-being to include the built environment and RanchLife’s resident programming,” Balsamo said. “We saw the importance of providing engaging spaces and meaningful opportunities to connect with a neighbor amplified during the stay-at-home orders of the last couple years. 2022 was an amazing opportunity to renew our commitment to bringing people together and building community, both literally and figuratively.”
The unincorporated community celebrated public-private partnerships with Orange County Fire Authority and Santa Margarita Water District, with the opening of an interim fire station at Rienda and a groundbreaking ceremony for the Ranch Water Filtration Plant in 2022, respectively.
As for what people can look forward to in 2023, Balsamo pointed to the launching of sales for the next phase of Rienda.
“This phase will differ from phase one in that it includes 145 new single-level living Gavilán homes for residents age 55+,” he said. “In addition to having access to the all-age amenities and RanchLife activities on The Ranch, Gavilán residents enjoy exclusive access to amenities and programs catered just to them.”
TheoPacific Corporation and RMV will be breaking ground on a second-phase development adjacent to Los Patrones Business Park, an industrial center with various business tenants. The new two-building complementary business park development will total approximately 26,000 square feet, with spaces ranging from 1,824 to 12,922 square feet.
Away from development, The Nature Reserve—RMV’s own outdoor preserve—continues to increase its level of community events and enrichment activities, including new camps and internships for middle school and high school students.
“Now that schools are back in session full-time, field trips for elementary school children are back to pre-COVID level participation,” Balsamo said. “Connecting Ranch residents and the community at-large to nature is really important to us. It’s exciting to watch kids and kids at heart explore and engage with The Nature Reserve.”
Nature Reserve events also give RMV residents a chance to learn about the conservation, monitoring and management efforts taking place in their proverbial backyards.
“They’re an important part of The Ranch’s culture of care and how we aim to foster a sense of stewardship over the land,” Balsamo said.
Collin Breaux covers San Juan Capistrano and other South Orange County news as the City Editor for The Capistrano Dispatch. Before moving to California, he covered Hurricane Michael, politics and education in Panama City, Florida. He can be reached by email at email@example.com.
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