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St. Louis County to open 24-hour cooling center

CLAYTON, MO - As temperatures are expected to be near triple digits this week, St. Louis County residents and workers are trying to find ways to keep cool and safe.

The county and the Salvation Army have partnered to provide expanded cooling shelter services this summer.

The shelter, located at 10740 Page Avenue will operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week between July 12th and September 15th. The facility can accommodate up to 48 individuals.

"It's our older residents who can't afford to have cooling and sometimes they have a perfectly good service and air conditioner but they don't want to turn it on simply because they can't afford it and that's a real shame," said county executive, Steve Stenger.

Monday's start to what's expected to be a scorcher of a week also kicked off Clayton's Restaurant Week, part of which supports the Operation Food Search initiative. But it wasn't hard to notice plenty of outdoor seating sitting empty.

"We are not looking forward to Wednesday, I think it's like a 105," said Chris Holmes, manager of Bar and Cafe Napoli which is part of restaurant week.

"We don't have fans or anything like that but I guess we just kind of try to get them as many cocktails as they like and cold beer and maybe that will help cool down their system."

"It's a scorcher," said Jack Rechtiene with Clayton Valet while downing as many fluids as possible.

"When you park like 50 cars a night you're running up and down and in a car twice so yeah, it's a lot and we're wearing black pants," said Rechtiene.

Meanwhile, the center which is most times used as a warming center in the winter months will have cots, water, and other necessities to help the homeless and the elderly who are the most vulnerable.

"For the summer if you're young and you have the resources available to stay cool, great and it's a lot of fun and we hope everybody is enjoying the summer," said Stenger, "but for those who are most vulnerable weather like this is deadly and summer takes on a whole new meaning for those who don't have the resources to stay cool."

The center will also have case managers on hand for anyone looking for other important resources to help them get through this summer.