There’s no anti-hot pot plot | PostIndependent.com
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There’s no anti-hot pot plot

Ryan Graff

The town’s “hot pots” in the Colorado River will stay, much to the delight of a couple of area residents and the chagrin of police.The town’s “hot pots” in the Colorado River will stay, much to the delight of a couple of area residents and the chagrin of police.Rocky Parks, of Glenwood Springs, stood on the side of an Interstate 70 on-ramp last week holding two cardboard signs that read, “Save the hot pots,” and “Keep the springs in Glenwood Springs,” for drivers turning onto the eastbound on-ramp. Just 100 feet up the ramp from Parks a Colorado Department of Transportation crew and crane worked to replace a culvert that runs under the ramp and sends warm water into “hot pots” in the Colorado River.The culvert the crews were replacing is owned by CDOT but carries the warm water discharge from the Hot Springs Pool.The hot pots, which were built by locals with rocks in the river, is a popular spot for many. Parks and another man, Mountain Man Nick, thought the CDOT crew was going to destroy the hot pots. “It’s where people have fun. I don’t know why they’re tearing it down,” said Parks said.In fact, CDOT had not come to destroy the hot pots, but to replace the 48-inch culvert and repair the eroded river bank surrounding it, said CDOT engineer Bill Crawford. The work was actually part of a series of culvert replacements Crawford and his crew are working on throughout the I-70 corridor after a major sink hole resulting from a leaky culvert closed I-70 near Vail in 2003, Crawford said. In the end Crawford assured the two protesters that his crew would not destroy the hot pots.”I prefer they dropped a boulder in there,” said Glenwood Springs Police Chief Terry Wilson. “We get nothing but trouble from (the hot pots).””I’ve personally been down with a father who went down there to find his 13-year-old girl there in nothing but her panties in a hot pot full of 40 year-old men,” he said. The police have responded to three or four sexual assaults at the hot pots over the years, he said, and two deaths. One death was a drug overdose, and the other was a drowning that happened when an intoxicated man left the hot pots for the river. Officers often respond to calls of injuries on the slick, steep bank and underage drinking at the hot pots, Wilson said. Wilson has tried to work with the Hot Springs Pool and the city of Glenwood Springs so the hot pots wouldn’t be able to be filled with the discharge, but nothing has ever happened and CDOT owns the culvert and land, he said. “It’s not an amenity, it’s not a naturally occurring thing. … It’s the dirty water being flushed out of the pool,” he said.The two protesters weren’t as sure though, even though they acknowledged that police had ticketed people for underage drinking at the pots. “This is the heart of Glenwood Springs as far as I’m concerned,” Parks said. Contact Ryan Graff: 945-8515, ext. 520rgraff@postindependent.com


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