Washington City officials begin work on new park at historic watering hole

Posted at 10:25 PM, Jan 05, 2015

WASHINGTON CITY, Utah – City crews have started work on turning a historic watering hole into its newest city park.

The move comes as a surprise to a group who’d hoped to see the area preserved as a unique ecosystem.

The Warm Springs, also known as “The Boilers” have been locked up since the 1990s, but just before Christmas the fences came down and public works employees began removing some of the ground cover.

Washington City mayor Ken Nielson said council members gave staff the green light on improvements to the area.

“Fix it up a little bit, have a nice little beach area, make it a park area for families,” Nielson said.

Historically, The Boilers were a social gathering spot, but illegal activity and a lack of police presence left them unsafe.

The spot recently came back into the spotlight when local nonprofit group, The Boiling Springs Ecoseum & Desert Reserve proposed restoring it. Executive Director Nicole Warner said she was surprised by the sudden move by the city.

“We had been told by the city council in a meeting in July that they wouldn’t entertain any discussion about this particular piece of property until after the first of the year,” Warner said.

Warner and her group have proposed an open trail system and Ecoseum (building highlighting the warm springs environment) for the city-owned property surrounding The Boilers. Their hope was to keep the spring as natural as possible, but the city went a different direction.

“The decision we made was to open it up back to the public,” Nielson said.

The mayor said it’s always been in the master plan to turn the boiling springs area into a city park.

Nielson hopes to continue discussions with the Ecoseum group, and said any improvements the city makes wouldn’t interfere with any other development.

“Even if the Ecoseum wants to come in, they’re more than welcome to come in and make an offer and help us, because they want to build around the Boilers, not on top of them,” Nielson said.

“We are looking forward to understanding what the city’s plans are and working with them to bring the community around this space, which is really important and has been for generations,” Warner said.

Park improvements will take place over the next several months.