DES MOINES, Iowa — Polk County wants people to know where to go if your options are limited for getting out of the dangerously cold weather.
Dozens of libraries, community centers and malls allow anyone to come in during hours of operation that are seeking shelter.
It’s part of the county’s extreme temperature response, during the brutal cold or scorching heat, there is somewhere to go for relief. The full list of places to go can be found on the Polk County website.
One of the locations that you are able to hang around at is the Merle Hay Mall. The general manager said the mall has been a part of this response system for years and he wants people to come in and use the property.
“Let’s be smart, let’s not stand outside when we don’t need to, especially when it is minus 10, 11, 12,” said Ed Kaizer, the general manager at Merle Hay Mall. “There’s no reason to risk being outside. The mall’s a welcoming place to sit and wait for somebody to pick you up or coordinate transportation, that would be an excellent choice.”
The mall operates as a warming center during business hours every day. As long as people aren’t loitering or sleeping, they can stay up to closing.
Dart buses have specific routes that take people to warming centers around the county. You can view which bus drops people off at which center on the Polk County website.