Shareefah Wahid and Laron Sledge-Bey were pretty lonely Monday at Patterson Park Community Center in Akron.
But at least they were warm.
The center’s two recreation leaders had the North Hill neighborhood facility to themselves all day. They blame the day’s sub-zero temperatures for their barren plight.
Patterson was one of a handful of local centers opening their doors to those in need of warmth.
But aside from Wahid, Sledge-Bay and supervisor John Hafford, Patterson was deserted, leaving them all loads of time to catch up on paperwork.
“I have not seen a soul today,” Wahid said.
“But it’s a good thing the city is offering these places,” Sledge-Bey said. “If you don’t, all heck could break loose.”
Over the weekend, Patterson was a busy place as neighborhood kids took to the nearby sledding hill. But even with city schools closed Monday and today, the center’s offerings of punch, coffee, snacks and recreation went untouched.
Wahid has worked for the rec department for 26 years, and she said warming stations are generally not as popular as the cooling stations that open during summer heat waves.
“Cooling stations are much busier. But when it’s cold, people don’t seem to make it here,” she said. “Wherever they’re at, that’s where they stay to keep warm.”
Activity was expected to be more brisk at places like the Peter Maurin Center on South Main Street, which opened its doors Monday night into this morning so that the homeless, who might otherwise sleep in tents or doorways around Akron, could escape the frigid weather.
Along with that facility being open, Patterson and 10 other city of Akron community centers are set to be open today for people needing temporary shelter.
The Peter Maurin Center, operated by the Catholic Worker Community of Akron, is located at 1096 S. Main St. The center also was opened to the homeless Sunday night, with five people spending the night.
Homeless people who needed to get out of the cold were picked up in vans at the Akron-Summit County Public Library, said Joe May, founder of the center. They were to be taken back to the library this morning.
Temperatures around Akron were expected to drop to about 13 degrees below zero Monday night with wind chills approaching 40 degrees below zero.
Today, the high temperature is expected to reach only 2 degrees above zero, according to the National Weather Service, with wind chills again dropping to about 40 degrees below zero.
The following Akron community centers will be open as “warming centers” today:
• Ed Davis Community Center, 730 Perkins Park Drive, noon to 8 p.m.
• Ellet Community Center, 2449 Wedgewood Drive, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
• Firestone Park Community Center, 1480 Girard St., 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
• Joy Park Community Center, 825 Fuller St., noon to 6 p.m.
• Kenmore Community Center, 880 Kenmore Blvd., 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
• Lawton Street Community Center, 1225 Lawton St. noon to 8:30 p.m.
• Mason Park Community Center, 700 E. Exchange St., 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
• Northwest Family Recreation Center, 1730 Shatto Ave., 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
• Patterson Park Community Center, 800 Patterson Ave., noon to 8 p.m.
• Reservoir Park Community Center, 1735 Hillside Terrace, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
• Summit Lake Community Center, 380 W. Crosier St., noon to 9 p.m.
Also, the American Red Cross building, 501 W. Market St., will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The House of the Lord, 1650 Diagonal Road, will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic, in a news release, urged Akron residents to be cautious in the extreme weather and to stay home and out of the elements.
“If you have an elderly or disabled neighbor or friend, give them a call and check on their safety,” he said. “If you have no place to stay warm, please go to one of our warming centers.”
Jim Carney can be reached at 330-996-3576 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Phil Trexler can be reached at 330-996-3717 or email@example.com. He can be followed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PhilTrexler