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Salida has a topless pool for the summer

Brief by Central Staff

Salida – July 2001 – Colorado Central Magazine

To put it one way, Salida again has an outdoor swimming pool. To put it another way, it’s a topless pool.

The roof had to be removed after the Big Spring Dump of May 3-6 because some wooden support beams cracked under the weight of four feet of wet snow.

That closed the pool for a couple of weeks, as cranes removed the roof, but by Memorial Day, it was open again for summer swimming.

The Salida Hot Springs Pool gets its naturally heated water via a pipeline from the Poncha Springs on the east side of Poncha Pass, five miles away. It dates to a federal WPA project in 1938. In 1975, a natural-gas explosion destroyed the original roof, so it was an outdoor pool until 1981 when Salida voters passed a bond issue and replaced the roof.

This roof, too, will be replaced, as there’s some insurance money available. “But we’ll wait until the fall,” manager Terry Ruggles said, “and we’ll do a lot of other work, like replacing the filter system, while the pool is closed for the roof job.”

[Salida pool without a roof]
[Salida pool without a roof]

In one pleasing turn of events, the old roof will be recycled into components for a new community building and fire station at Howard, 17 miles down the river from Salida.

“We estimate about 75% of the wood in the old roof can be re-used,” Ruggles said, “and there may be some other useful materials, like ceiling tiles, too.”

As for response to the outdoor pool, “a few people complain that it’s too cold, but most people like it,” Ruggles said.

She’s also looking into some special promotions to take advantage of the temporary lack of a roof, like late hours on July 4 so people can backfloat and watch the fireworks, or a visit from local astronomy buffs who can point out stars and constellations while people float under the night sky.