During the recent blizzard, the Effingham Performance Center was spontaneously converted into a warming center on January 6 and 7. The city first cleared the facility’s parking lot to use for parking large trucks. The Center was asked later that Monday to serve as a warming center for stranded travelers. Director of Ticketing and Communications Alan Lovell told us that while they were in no way prepared to act as a warming center, they opened in that capacity later that evening with help from the community.
“The fire department brought in some cots so we were able to provide cots and blankets,” said Lovell. “The Red Cross helped out with meals for all who were stranded. As far as the facility here, we set up the lobby area with a large TV with Netflix, so those who had kids could sit and watch movies and keep them entertained. A lot of people, since they were traveling, had their own games and things anyway. Everyone was very pleasant and very happy and grateful to not have to be stuck out on the highway when it was fifteen below zero.”
Lovell said the performance center hosted more than 50 people on Monday and more than 140 people Tuesday.