Prepping for extreme heat: Tempe working to open its first 'envision' center

New Tempe climate center.png
Posted at 5:04 PM, Jan 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-28 20:53:27-05

TEMPE, AZ — The City of Tempe has plans to repurpose one of its buildings into a refuge, a shelter to help those during climate emergencies, like extreme heat during Arizona's summer months.

Michelle Seitz, the city's emergency manager, said the city plans to transform one of the buildings on the corner of Apache Blvd. and Dorsey Lane into a refuge, called Envision Center.

"This is our first bottom-up approach to building emergency management within our community. We're hoping to have many more envision centers," she said.

Being close to a light rail station, Tempe said they wanted to make sure it was easily accessible for people who would need to use it.

When open, the center will primarily be used as a community center, a daily place where people will be able to utilize resources to help find jobs or housing. During stretches of extreme heat, it will also be used as a temporary cooling center for people to beat the heat.

"We want to build this as a hub they can trust and feel comfortable coming to when there is an emergency, such as extreme heat," said Seitz.

Right now, the building has been gutted and construction will begin soon. Officials hope to have their first community hub open in May.