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Monona Terrace becomes a retreat from the heat

Courtesy Monona Terrace

MADISON, Wis. — As record temperatures hit the Midwest in mid-summer, Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center served as a 24-hour cooling shelter for those who needed a break from the heat.

At Madison Mayor Paul Soglin’s urging, Madison police and fire joined forces with the American Red Cross and Salvation Army to provide the initial set up at Monona Terrace on July 3. Fortunately, space there was available as the facility was closed for several days for annual maintenance when oppressive heat struck.

More than 300 meals were served each day and donations poured in to support the Red Cross’s efforts. More than 120 cots were provided for those who needed to stay overnight July 3-5 and July 7. Approximately 250 people stayed at Monona Terrace over the course of four days.

One local resident, Casimir Brandon, had been riding city buses from one end of the line to the other so he could grab a few hours of air-conditioned sleep.

“We were honored to be able to help out in this way,” said Monona Terrace director Gregg McManners. “It was the perfect example of the community coming together during a crisis.”