The Crusader Newspaper Group

Cooling Centers on South Side among facilities shut down on fourth day of heat wave 

Cooling stations on the South Side were among facilities in Chicago that were shut down Wednesday, June 19th, where sweltering temperatures exceeded 90 degrees for a fourth day in a row. 

Five of Chicago’s DFSS cooling stations that day were closed as residents struggled to stay cool amid the extreme temperatures that forecasters say was caused by a heat dome that hovered over Midwest and Northeastern states this week. Three city cooling stations in Bronzeville, Englewood and South Chicago were among the six that were closed.  

Only one city cooling center at the Garfield Center, 10 S. Kedzie Center on the West Side where Mayor Brandon Johnson lives, was open on June 19.  

The Crusader contacted the Johnson’s press secretary Ronnie Reese, who said in text message, “Some of the DFSS-operated sites are closed for Juneteenth, much like many government offices. There are, however, more than 100 park district sites and other locations throughout the city open for cooling today.”  

Questions remain whether residents were given advance notice of the closure. Alderman Desmond Yancy (5th) on June 18 emailed residents in his ward a newsletter that said the city’s six cooling centers will be open during the heat wave. The newsletter did not mention anything about the cooling centers being closed on June 19. 

“We are in the midst of a heat wave,” Yancy said in the newsletter. “Please remember to stay hydrated, remain inside if possible, and check on your elderly neighbor. City of Chicago cooling stations are located around the city at these addresses. 

Chicago this week opened six cooling centers for residents seeking to escape the extreme heat. Many residents on the South Side do not have air conditioning and rely on fans to stay cool. Forecasters warn residents to check on the elderly throughout the day.   

With most of the cooling centers closed Wednesday, residents were advised to seek shelter at Chicago’s 80 public libraries this week, but those locations were closed Wednesday because of the Juneteenth federal holiday. Chicago’s public pools that just opened Monday for the summer, remained open on Wednesday. 

Chicago officials also said the Chicago Cultural Center at 78 E. Washington will provide a cooling area from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

A city spokeswoman told the Sun Times the National Weather Service had not issued an excessive heat warning as of early evening Tuesday that would set in motion an emergency response to the heat. 

Mary May, a spokeswoman for the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications, said should the National Weather Service issue an extreme heat warning, the city will activate its emergency response plan. 

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