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Corpus Christi warming centers open, but are currently experiencing low turnout

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Posted at 3:10 PM, Feb 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-12 21:00:52-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Seven different warming sites throughout the Corpus Christi area opened their doors at noon Friday in light of freezing temperatures expected to arrive late this weekend.

Those locations include four senior centers and three libraries, and are:

Senior centers locations serving as warming centers:

  • Broadmoor Senior Center, 1651 Tarlton, 826-3138
  • Ethel Eyerly Senior Center, 654 Graham, 826-2330
  • Garden Senior Center, 5325 Greely, 826-2345
  • Oveal Williams Senior Center, 1414 Martin Luther King, 826-2305

Public libraries locations serving as warming centers:

  • Ben F. McDonald Public Library, 4044 Greenwood, 826-2356
  • La Retama Central Library, 805 Comanche, 826-7000
  • Owen R. Hopkins Public Library, 3202 McKinzie, 826-2350

The warming centers were announced Friday morning, and as of early Friday afternoon, five of the seven locations said they had not had anyone come by. Officials at Ethel Eyerly in Flour Bluff, and La Retama, could not be reached.

Tracey Cantu, the city’s interim Parks and Recreation director, said the warming centers are open until 6 p.m. Friday. Starting Saturday, doors will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at every location, through Wednesday — with the possibility of it being extended to Thursday.

“It is a little fluid because of the weather, and we are continually monitoring the weather,” she said. “We’re having two weather briefings each day just to check the conditions and what the forecast and conditions are going to be.”

KRIS 6 News spoke with Cantu outside of Oveal Williams Senior Center. She said temperature checks and mask-wearing guidelines will be in place. Each center will also host a sharply lower capacity due to COVID-19.

“Our capacity is 40 people,” she said, gesturing to the senior center. “Each one of our facilities — and the libraries — are all different. Once people contact those locations, they can let them know. But we will try to do our best to accommodate anybody who needs some respite from the cold weather.”

Although the centers will not be serving people overnight, she said those seeking warmth past their operating hours can contact The Salvation Army.

“They are heading up the efforts to find people assistance for overnight shelters if that’s necessary,” she said. “They are partnering with a number of other local agencies and charities to provide does overnight stays, if people are looking for that.

“We recognize that not everybody has access to heated facility to get out of the weather, so we want to make sure that at least, for a portion of the day, they’ve got a place where they can come and stay warm and get out of this weather, just a respite from the severe weather that we’re experiencing that’s unusual for this area.”