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Peekskill Programs Keep Residents Cool

Despite the stifling heat outside Thursday, residents inside the city’s community center on Nelson Avenue were cool. Residents relaxed in the air conditioned senior nutrition room - reading, chatting with neighbors and watching television. The city opened a cooling center on the ground floor on Wednesday and Thursday due to the extreme heat, a program that has been in effect since last year, said Deputy City Manager Brian Havranek.

“We opened it until 10 o’clock at night," he said. “The building is open anyway since we have librarians and custodians in the building so we try to do it where it’s not an additional cost to the taxpayer but provide a service. We also have the Police Department notified to frequently stop in when they pass by the area to make sure everything is okay.”

This year the city is using a program called Nixle to alert resident to emergency services. The program, which residents can sign up for at www.Nixle.com, sends emergency news text alerts directly to their cell phone.

“We try to utilize whatever we could to get the message out,” Havranek said.

Downstairs in the city’s Senior Club, director Julia Bentley said both her program and the cooling center upstairs were being taken advantage of. “We’ve left it [the building] open,” Bentley said. “We tell the people if they don’t have air conditioning at home please come stay here. We offer them bottled water and let them come in to use the bathrooms. They have a big screen TV [upstairs] and we play DVDs to entertain them.”

Senior Club members said the center provided a fun place to relax in comfort with other seniors. “It’s nice,” said member Carol Iuggiero. “I want to stay all day, I don’t want to go home.” Another resident, Marsha Bailey, is a member of the club with her mother Audrey Gory. “I retired two years ago and I joined the seniors with my mom,” Bailey said. “I used to go on trips with her, so I’m used to the seniors and love being in the club.”

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