City opens “cooling stations” at 10 rec centers to help Denverites beat the heat

Did you know about this cool option?

A "cooling station," AKA the corner of the lobby, at the Carla Madison Recreation Center on Colfax Avenue. June 16, 2021.

A "cooling station," AKA the corner of the lobby, at the Carla Madison Recreation Center on Colfax Avenue. June 16, 2021.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Desiree

Denverites know it’s hot outside. Like record-breakingly hot. But not many residents know that recreation centers and libraries are open across the city to help folks cool down.

On Tuesday, Mayor Michael Hancock announced the opening of 10 cooling stations at recreation centers across the city that can be used to chill out as temperatures continue to hit 100 degrees and above.

The “cooling stations” at the centers will be free to access and are equipped with couches, ice and water.

But Bruna de Goes, a mother of two, didn’t know the rec centers were offering a reprieve from the sun’s raging rays.

De Goes, 36, was hanging at the park outside the Hiawatha Davis Jr. Recreation Center in Park Hill Wednesday morning with her son and daughter and was surprised to hear that the center was offering free access to cool down.

“We go to the rec centers for art classes, pools and stuff… but it would’ve been great to hear more,” de Goes said.

Staff members at several centers said not many people, if any, have come inside seeking shade and air conditioning.

City representatives said they’ve spread the message via Facebook and Twitter. Theresa Marchetta, the city’s Director of Strategic Communications, said street outreach teams were also dispatched to “direct any unhoused residents to the cooling stations.”

The elderly, residents experiencing homelessness and those who do not have air conditioning units are usually the primary concern when it comes to heat exhaustion but Marchetta said the heat doesn’t discriminate.

Hancock echoed the sentiment in a press release by adding that even healthy people are at risk.

Some tips to stay cool include staying inside, drinking more water and limiting stove usage.

Thursday is the last day to access the centers for free, though Marchetta said as the summer progresses, the city will “take steps to make these centers available as needed to help residents stay safe.”

Temperatures are expected to top 99 degrees Thursday but will head down into the lower 90s and high 80s during the weekend.

Stay cool, Denverites.

Here's the list of cooling centers in the city, along with their hours of operation.

Here's the list of cooling centers in the city, along with their hours of operation.

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