Tuesday, November 27, 2012
The article you published about the future of the Old Town Hot Springs (“More than mineral water,” Nov. 24 Steamboat Today) impels me to write. With all due respect to Pat Carney and the board of directors, I feel we need to refocus our priorities regarding one of our valley’s greatest gifts. They have done an amazing job fulfilling their stated mission to “provide a center for health and wellness through recreation and education in aquatics and fitness for our community, members and guests.” However, they run the risk of losing sight of their deeper mission: to act as stewards of this natural hot spring for our community. This gem is the only community pool we have in town.
Historically, the pool has provided respite for all, visitors and locals alike. Evelyn Semotan told me stories about her childhood when the Ute Indians would come to town and bathe in the pools, sitting up on the hill above to survey the valley. When I was growing up here, the pool was a safe place I could go with my friends. Its downtown location meant I could walk or ride my bike. Of course, that old phone on the wall came in handy if I needed to beg for a ride home in the rain or snow.
When the board of directors decided to remodel the facility in 2009, the prices for admission increased. Many visitors did not notice the change, but the young families in town certainly feel the burden. Returning family and friends are priced out of their hometown haunt. With the upcoming expansion plans, I worry that my own children will not have the same opportunity to enjoy the pool that we had.
As the standard of luxury rises in Steamboat Springs, we need to be mindful of our roots and our natural gifts. Please consider preserving the humble atmosphere so that we can all enjoy life’s simple joys: warm spring water and time together as a family and a community.