Beat the heat with Columbia's cooling centers

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COLUMBIA – The City of Columbia coordinates nine cooling centers around town to help people beat the unseasonably high temperatures.

These cooling centers are important for people like Donald Ash, who have limited access to air conditioning.

“This is a necessity more than a luxury right now,” Ash said.

He said he goes to Columbia Library every day to escape the heat.

“It’s very important. If I were stuck outside in this all day, it wouldn’t be good,” he said.

Each of the nine cooling centers is marked with a sign designating it as a free place to take shelter from the heat.

Columbia/ Boone County Public Health and Human Services Community Relations Specialist Eric Stann said each location is provided by community organizations. 

“We really appreciate their support to be able to offer this network to address the needs of the community during these high temperatures,” Stann said.

The Salvation Army provides three of the cooling centers around town. Major Jack Holloway said Salvation Army is staying busy.

“The shelter right now is actually running at capacity,” Holloway said.

He said people are welcome to come in for a glass of water, have a seat and cool off.

Ash said he’s lucky to have places with air conditioning to stay safe during the warm summer months.

The following locations are serving as cooling centers in Columbia: 

  • ARC (Activity and Recreation Center), 1707 W. Ash St. 
  • Armory Sports and Community Center, 701 E. Ash St.
  • Boone County Government Center, 801 E. Walnut St. 
  • Columbia/Boone County Public Health & Human Services, 1005 W. Worley St.
  • Columbia Mall, 2300 Bernadette Dr.
  • Columbia Public Library, 100 W. Broadway
  • Salvation Army, 1108 W. Ash St.
  • Salvation Army Harbor House, 602 N. Ann St. 
  • St. Francis House, 901 Rangeline St.