Manteca is ready to open the transit center as a cooling station as the South County braces for its second heat wave this spring.
Temperatures are expected to reach 100 degrees today. The cooling center, however, typically only opens when the forecast calls for temperatures 103 degrees and above. The National Weather Service expects that to happen Wednesday with a projected high of 105 degrees and Thursday when the peak is expected to reach 104 degrees. The cooling center will open both of those days.
The cooling center is expected to be open Wednesday and Thursday from 1 to 8 p.m. The transit center is at South Main Street and Moffat Boulevard. Temperatures are taken at the door. In the event someone is running a higher temperature they will be placed in another part of the facility. No one will be turned away.
The cooling center was moved from the senior center to the transit center so Parks and Recreation could operate their youth day camp at that location. Once Manteca Unified has prepared the Lincoln School campus, the day camp will be moved there. Eventually when the state allows a reopening senior center activities will resume. In the meantime the senior center staff is providing online activities for seniors such as Zumba classes via Zoom. That is in addition to lunches being delivered to more than 200 seniors five times a week.
Manteca was one of the few cities in the Northern San Joaquin Valley to open a cooling center during last week’s four consecutive days of 100-degree heat. A number of cities that usually do indicated they were hard pressed to do so because of the COVID-19 pandemic emergency.
Manteca started cooling center operations nearly two decades ago after a spot check by Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) volunteers of vulnerable populations at locations such as mobile home parks during a brutal heat wave found an elderly woman in the first stages of heat stroke.
The opening of cooling centers was also part of a settlement the city made with lawyers for three homeless men that filed a class action suit against the city. That settlement — that led to the establishment of the community resource officers to work with the homeless to try and get them off the streets as well as to enforce laws pertaining to conduct that also apply to the homeless — allowed Manteca to avoid up to seven figures in legal fees and other costs. Instead the overall cost to the city including legal costs and payments to the three homeless men was $51,000.
The city suspended the door-to-door checks of vulnerable populations during heat waves due to budget cuts in 2009 during the recession that reduced paid staff needed to coordinate such efforts.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email firstname.lastname@example.org