IDAHO CITY -- After years of waiting, a hot springs finally re-opened in Idaho City, and the whole town is seeing benefits.
The hot springs hadn't been open for about ten years. Wyatt Sharpley, the managing partner of what's now called, The Springs, says he and his people have been working on their remodel for about five years. So apparently, people were overdue for a dip.
"It's been overwhelming," said Sharpley.
He says since opening on Valentine's Day, they've seen waves of people come up, sometimes too many. "Unfortunately, we've had to turn some people away, because they haven't had a reservation. We set space aside for walk-ins, but we can only take so many people before it gets too crowded."
Stacy Beeson came up from Boise to check it out. "It's perfect. I mean, you have this image in your mind of what it could be, and it's lived up to that."
Sharpley says they don't have their steam room or cafe ready yet, but that they had to open just to get some business into Idaho City. "The town needs it," said Sharpley.
Most of the construction crew and craftsmen who built The Springs were from Idaho City, as are almost all the current employees. But, that's not the only economic benefit.
Skip Myers, co-owner of Donna's Place - a shop and restaurant in town - says he's seen more customers since The Springs opened. "People we've never seen before are coming in, and getting a lunch," he said. "They're renting a couple cabins in town, renting some movies from us."
He says tourism dollars are needed by Idaho City now more than ever.
"It's been a really rough winter for a lot of us," said Myers. "It's been pretty thin eating."
The Springs will be a big asset for the whole community, hopefully for years to come.
"You have to have something to do when you get here," said Myers. "So, I think The Springs is going to bring some people in. Once we get them here, if we entertain them properly. If we get them a good meal at any one of our restaurants in town, I think we'll get them all back."
If you want to take a look at The Springs for yourself, managers recommend making reservations. They say they won't let more than 100 people in the pool at a time.