Could Rio Rancho be the landing site for the National UFO Historical Records Center?
At its May 10 meeting, the Sandoval County Commission had a close encounter with David Marler, executive director of the records center, who pitched the idea of locating the records center somewhere in the county.
Marler is looking for a permanent site for a massive collection of UFO records and memorabilia assembled by what Marler called "literally the largest coalition of UFO scientists and researchers," presumably in this world.
Currently, much of the collected documents, video recordings, audio recordings, unsealed classified documents, witness testimony, including those of commercial airline and military pilots, are housed in an extension Marler built onto his Rio Rancho home.
"His wife must be some sort of saint," quipped Commission Chairman David Heil.
Marler confirmed she was a saint, but said he'd like to find a permanent place for the records that gave access to the public.
There is some urgency to establishing such a center, Marler said. Many of the people who have been involved in UFO research over the decades or were witnesses to events have come of age. Some are looking for a depository for their materials and a few have even included him in their wills, he said.
Also, Marler said the time is right. The U.S. government has become less tight-lipped about UFO activity, or what in some circles is being called Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon (UAP). And a recent New York Times story has brought increased attention to the subject, he said.
The presentation included stories of reported UFO incidents in New Mexico. Marler also played compelling audio of pilot communications after witnessing highly unusual events.
Marler said people people don't have to be believers to enjoy the facility.
"Fact, fiction or folklore, it's part of our history. New Mexico history," he said.
Marler said he has already talked to Rio Rancho Mayor Greggory Hull about locating the center in the "City of Vision," and he's receptive. He also got positive feedback from state Sen. Antonio "Moe" Maestas, D-Albuquerque, and talked to him about possibly getting capital outlay money for the project next year.
Marler said he'd welcome funding from the county, too, but more importantly he was seeking for the county to serve as its fiscal agent. The National UFO Records Center is registered as a 501 (C)(3) non-profit in New Mexico.
New Mexico is an obvious location for a national records center, Marler said, and not just because of Roswell. One of the most credible UFO incident occurred in Socorro, and there have other notable reports in the Aztec and elsewhere. He said sightings often occur near Air Force bases. New Mexico has three of them.
The potential for such a center being an economic benefit and tourist attraction for the town is present. He recalled a conversation in which it was said, "Wouldn't it me nice if people drove to Rio Rancho, rather than through it."
But Marler assured commissioners that what was envisioned wasn't anything like what you'd see in Roswell. This would be a more serious, academic-type facility where people could go to conduct research and view materials.
"We want to make a clear delineation between fact and fiction," he said.
Phase I of plans focuses on storing archives. Marler said the center could grow to include a museum, as the collection includes UFO memorabilia and artifacts.
With that in mind, Marler said he was initially looking for a 10,000 square foot facility. With just the archives, 4,000 or 5,000 square feet would probably do.
The presentation was well received by the commission.
"This is definitely an exciting subject," Commissioner Michael Meeks said. "This would be the optimal place for this to be."
"I'd love to have you in Rio Rancho," Commissioner Jay Block said.
Commissioner Heil said he'd get in touch with Mayor Hull to discuss the matter further.
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