New geothermal hot springs set to break ground in Glenwood today
Developers of what’s officially being called the Iron Mountain Hot Springs at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park are wasting little time getting into the ground and starting construction, in hopes of having the new geothermal hot springs along the Colorado River open by May.
Following unanimous Glenwood Springs City Council approval Thursday night, a 1 p.m. groundbreaking ceremony is planned today at the site of the historic Iron Springs Spa on Centennial Street, located west of Two Rivers Park.
“We do feel that this is something that will further drive our tourist economy and bring people to Glenwood Springs,” said co-owner and developer Steve Beckley at the Thursday council meeting.
Beckley and his wife, Jeanne, who together own and operate the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, recently purchased the 13-acre property along with co-owners Mogli and Coop Cooper.
They plan to return the site to its former past as a hot springs spa and tourist attraction, taking advantage of one of the Glenwood Springs area’s many natural hot springs that flow from beneath the mountains to the north and into the Colorado River. The springs in this particular area are historically known as the “hobo hot springs.”
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The property has been vacant since 1996, when the historic bathhouse and red-brick mansion built in the late 1800s were torn down to make way for what ended up being an unsuccessful attempt by the previous owners to build a water-slide adventure park on the site.
Plans now include a larger 40-by-60-foot family hot pool that will run at about 95 degrees Fahrenheit and four smaller pools for soaking and relaxation that will range from 101 to 106 degrees.
A main admissions building with changing rooms, concessions and retail operations is also planned, plus an unpaved parking lot that will be paved eventually once the site is fully planned, Beckley said.
The new resort will have a maximum capacity of 300 people and will be operated by Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.
The conceptual design for the site features naturally shaped pools that will blend into the hillside as it slopes toward the river, according to a statement issued after the City Council approval.
A viewing tower resembling an old water tower that was on the site in the 1890s is also being planned, along with a waterfall feature, a small bridge over a water slide and walkways heated with water from the hot springs connecting the pools.
The family pool is to include an elevated, hotter section where parents can soak while watching their children play in the shallow, cooler pool, with a nearby shade structure for resting and picnicking.
Richard Nash will be the construction manager for the new Iron Mountain Hot Springs development. Construction is to begin immediately, with a tentative opening date.
Because an estimated 20 to 30 percent of visitors are expected to access the new hot springs by foot or bicycle, completion of footpath and trail connections in the area was a main topic of discussion at the Thursday council meeting.
Beckley agreed as a condition of approval to complete the path extending from Devereux Road along Centennial Drive to his property. It will be up to the city to complete a more direct link from the existing pedestrian bridge over Interstate 70 beside Two Rivers Park to Centennial Drive.
The council also discussed a 20-year-old river-trails master plan that envisioned a trail along the river through the Iron Springs site and an eventual bridge back over the south side of the river.
Beckley said he would be willing to dedicate a trail easement along the north side of his property rather than by the river because of safety and security reasons. However, council members agreed they would like to revisit the river-trails plan at a future time to decide if that is the best place for a trail.
“This is a trail that we’ve never even really talked about, ever,” Councilman Matt Steckler said.
The council agreed to require dedication of the trail easement only if the city eventually does decide a trail on the north side of the river and new bridge are still desired. The Centennial Drive path also will be triggered when the city completes its portion of that link.
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Joseph DeMoor won for the second time, while Morgan Arritola took her first Golden Leaf title on Saturday in the race’s return to Aspen.