EAST GREENWICH — Whether it’s going over to nearby Goddard Park Beach for a little swim or heading further south to catch some waves, local residents are trying to find ways to remain cool from the recent sweltering temperatures that have enveloped not just East Greenwich, but the entire state and region.
Two places in town, however, have been relatively quiet in terms of coming in to get out of the heat.
The cooling centers that were set up in East Greenwich – Swift Community Center and the East Greenwich Free Library, both on Pierce Street – have seen either a low turnout of people coming in through the doors and into a chilled room, or are unsure of the actual number of residents taking advantage of the service that’s provided to help them beat the heat.
“Not a whole heck of a lot,” said Erin MacAndrew, the Town’s Director of Senior and Human Services, when asked how many people have come to Swift Community Center for the cooling center. “I’ve had a handful of people come in. And it was the same as last year.”
MacAndrew said there might have been three or four people total thus far as of last week that have went to Swift Community Center to get out of the heat and into a cooled environment outside of the seniors who regularly go to Swift for their normal activities the center provides.
That, plus other residents within East Greenwich have found ways to take charge of the very warm temperatures on their own.
“People either have the AC or they’re not really bothered by the heat,” MacAndrew said. “The seniors that usually come over and use the center on a daily basis can use the AC and maybe that’s why they don’t need it because they’re already doing a program or doing something. Some people are just going to come regardless because they’re going to go do an activity or going to go to lunch.”
MacAndrew hopes that more people would take advantage of the cooling center at Swift this past week given the area went through another heat wave, with temperatures soaring well into the mid-90s.
Karen Taylor of the East Greenwich Free Library said she had close to 1,700 people come through the doors at the old library just adjacent from Swift Community Center last week, but was unsure how many of them took advantage of the cooling center – which has later hours than Swift.
We count everyday of people who have come through the doors,” Taylor said. “As far as how many have used the cooling systems, we won’t be able to tell. They just walk in and they don’t say (about the cooling center). They just sit down and do things, so we don’t have control over that.”
Taylor also believes that given the library offers many programs along with the opportunity to read numerous books it offers that residents are killing the two proverbial birds with one stone in terms of staying cool in the hot summer. She also said that the cooling centers aren’t increasing any energy bills for the library as of late.
“Everything is still status quo,” Taylor said. “We already have the air conditioning on, so it doesn’t change anything.”
Both Swift and the East Greenwich Free Library will have the cooling centers in place for most the summer. The cooling center at Swift will be available Mondays through Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. As of Monday, a new cooling center opened up inside the community room at the East Greenwich Police Station on First Avenue, which will be open Mondays through Fridays from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. That center replaced the one that was at East Greenwich Free Library.
The hours and locations are subject to change. For more information, log on to the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency’s website at www.riema.ri.gov .