News & Opinion

Meck County and CMEMO Expand Resources and Cooling Stations as Temps Rise

Members of vulnerable community groups can seek relief from the heat

Homeless residents (from left) Cortez Gilbert, Joe and Corleone spoke with Queen City Nerve last summer about a lack of resources. (Photo by Grant Baldwin)

On Thursday, Mecklenburg County and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management Office released information about resources for individuals seeking shelter from the heat as well as county-run cooling stations in the area. As of now, the cooling stations are only open through Friday, July 30, with other partner services available through the rest of summer.

There have been 20 days in July during which the high temperature was 90 degrees or above. According to data from the National Weather Service, the average annual number of days in which the average temperature is over 90 degrees is 44 days with the past three years exceeding that number by nearly double, as in 2019, which saw 85 days.

In late 2019, CMEMO moved away from set temperature designations for cooling stations in the summer and warming stations in the winter. Factors that initiate conversations on opening these stations include county partner impacts, shelter capacities, weather forecasts and 911 call volume. There was no specification on what type of weather constitutes concern.

According to Climate Central, a journalist- and scientist-led organization researching climate change, a heat index of above 90 degrees can cause serious concerns for heat-related illness. Areas in the southeast have had an increase of two extra weeks per year of 90-degree index days since 1970, according to the organization.

The dangers of heat-related illness don’t often go unnoticed as stories are published each year during the summer months on how to stay healthy and out of the hospital when working or living in these high-temperature climates. The number of reported heat-related illness in Charlotte this year were not readily available upon request, but there have been 121 emergency department visits for the same reason across the state between July 18 and 24, with 1,479 total occurring this month according to an NCDHHS heat report.

In collaboration with Roof Above, the county will be using the organization’s Day Services Center as a cooling station for community members that are currently experiencing homelessness and offering misting stations, fans, water fountains, chairs and face coverings. The Day Services Center operates from 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Friday and 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on weekends and holidays.

In addition to the Day Services Center operation, the county has outlined community resources that are free for anyone seeking relief from the heat in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area.

Parks & Rec: SprayGrounds

Available for public use during operating hours

  • Clarks Creek Community Park; 5435 Hucks Road
  • Captain Jack, Elizabeth Park; 1100 E. Trade Street
  • Cordelia Park; 600 E. 24th Street
  • First Ward Park; 309 E. Seventh Street
  • Latta Park; 601 East Park Avenue
  • Nevin Park; 6100 Statesville Road
  • Romare Bearden Park; 300 S. Church Street
  • West Charlotte Recreation Center; 2401 Kendall Drive

Parks & Rec: Public Pools

The Double Oaks Family Aquatic Center near Druid Hills and Cordelia Pool in Cordelia Park in the Villa Heights neighborhood are both available as public means to escape the heat.

Double Oaks is only open on Thursday and Saturday from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. and Cordelia Pool is open Sunday and Tuesday during the same timeframe.

Parks & Rec: Recreation Centers

The following recreation centers are open for community members to find relief in:

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Libraries

The public libraries are open to the public from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a..-5 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Mecklenburg County Fan Initiatives

Free box fans will be available to county residents over the age of 60 and those between the ages 18-59 who receive disability income. Fans are only available while supplies last and are provided by Duke Energy. You can call ahead to a distribution center (listed below) or schedule a date and time online to pick up a fan.

  • Albemarle Road Recreation Center; 5027 Idlewild Road North, Mint Hill NC 28227; (980) 314-1011
  • Bette Rae Thomas Center; 2921 Tuckaseegee Road Charlotte NC 28208; (980) 314-1111
  • Mallard Creek Recreation Center; 2530 Johnston-Oehler Road Charlotte NC 28269; (980) 314-1121
  • Eastway Regional Recreation Center; 3150 Eastway Park Drive Charlotte NC; (980) 314-3772
  • David B. Waymer Recreation Center; 14008 Holbrooks Road Huntersville NC 28078; (980) 314-1127
  • Southview Recreation Center; 1720 Vilma Street Charlotte NC 28208; (980) 314-1105
  • Tyvola Senior Center; 2225 Tyvola Road Charlotte NC 28210; (980) 314-1320

Energy Bill Assistance

You can apply for energy bill assistance through the DSS Crisis Intervention Program if you are experiencing a temperature-related energy bill crisis, life-threatening or health-related emergency, and have a past due or final notice. Applications and criteria are available at the county website or by calling (704) 336-3000.

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