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Outflow pipe a hot spot

Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson
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Nic Janes goes to Glenwood Springs’ “hot pots” for peace of mind.They’ve provided anything but that for the city’s police chief, Terry Wilson. His officers often respond to calls at the hot springs pools on the Colorado River near the city’s main Interstate 70 interchange.Wilson’s long-sought goal of closing down the hot pots is gaining support. And that concerns Janes and others who enjoy soaking in the pools, which are filled by a pipe carrying the outflow from the commercial Hot Springs Pool.Janes said people have put a lot of work into designing the pools at the hot pots.”They clean it, they try to maintain it. I think a lot of people would be heartbroken if this wasn’t here,” the New Castle resident said Monday after soaking his feet while having the hot pots all to himself.

Wilson has seen a lot of heartbreak associated with the hot pots. The latest was in August when a man accidentally drowned in the river after last being seen at the hot pots. The body of Edgar Hernandez González vila, 22, was found in the river several days later, west of New Castle. Wilson said a toxicology report recently determined he had drugs in his body at the time of death.The victim left behind a wife and three children.Also in August, about eight to 10 men attacked a bather at the hot pots and he ended up tumbling downhill, striking some rocks and suffering several injuries to the head.Wilson said police have had to deal with it all at the hot pots over the years – drownings, drug overdoses, fights, sexual assaults, suicides, injuries from falls.”I don’t think it’s safe at all. … I’m sick of it,” he said.Janes said he’s never seen such troubles at the hot pots in a few years of going there, and adds that they can occur anywhere. He considers the free attraction an amenity for the city.

“It’s part of the culture. People come here just for the hot pots,” he said.Others agree with Wilson that the hot pots are a detriment to the town. Wilson said the Hot Springs Pool has indicated a willingness to help shut down the hot pots, and he also has visited with representatives of the Colorado Department of Transportation, which owns the property that is home to the hangout.”We’re trying to get all the interested parties together. I would dearly, dearly love to see that thing turn into a nonissue,” he said.Wilson said he’s been trying to shut down the hot pots for a decade or more and thinks there’s a stronger movement to do so now than ever before.Pool and CDOT officials could not be reached for comment Monday.Wilson said one challenge would be to close the hot pots down in a way that they couldn’t be rebuilt. He remembers how the city used to try to destroy the hot springs pools up South Canyon, only to have bathers rebuild them in a couple of days.



“It’s pretty amazing how industrious some folks get when they find something like that closed off,” he said.Janes believes hot pots users would restore the pools if the city succeeds in getting rid of them.”They hate the government,” Janes explained.Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. 16609dwebb@postindependent.com


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