Cooling centers brace for more people as high temperatures continue

Utah Heat

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4) – Cooling centers are now open throughout Salt Lake County after being forced closed by the pandemic.

“It’s been great to reopen and start seeing some of my friends,” Dale Olson said.

Olson has been welcoming folks into the Sunday Anderson Westside Senior Center for five years. Nearly a year ago, the pandemic forced the center closed.

The center is now reopen, acting as a cooling center for people to beat the extreme heat.

Olson is now preparing for more visitors.

“Is there ever a perfect time for a heatwave it’s good to have a place for people to go where it’s not extremely hot,” Olson said.

Most Salt Lake County operated buildings are cooling centers.

“We have a number of public facilities open to the public that we will air conditioned,” Afton January with Salt Lake County Aging and Adult Services said.

Salt lake County operates sixteen senior centers and dozens of libraries and recreation centers.

“During the summer time when folks are thinking about getting cool we do see some individuals who are unhoused or folks who are lower income who do not have air conditioners at home,” January said.

Officials say these public facilities are funded by $24 million paid for in part by tax dollars and federal grants.

Which Olson says help people stay safe and escape the heat.

Anyone is welcome, the centers are open during normal businesses hours where a free lunch option is available.

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