As dangerously low temperatures hit Columbus on Tuesday night, the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department extended community center hours of operation.
Five community centers will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday: Beatty, Far East, Marion Franklin, Westgate and Whetstone. Barnett community center was originally on the list for extended hours, but lost power Wednesday morning.
The city extends hours to ensure residents have a safe place to stay when temperatures hit extreme highs or lows. Schools around Central Ohio, including The Ohio State University and Columbus City Schools, canceled classes Wednesday due to the cold.
Columbus City Schools also canceled classes and activities Thursday. Ohio State will reopen Thursday, but has canceled classes before 11 a.m.
Worthington resident Maren Bixler brought her four kids to Whetstone to play in the game room.
“You know, when you feel like your walls are closing in on you with so many kids, it’s nice to have a place where we can come meet friends, spread out a little and play games we don’t have at our house,” Bixler says.
Bixler lives in Worthington, but chose Whetstone because it is more affordable but just as close to her house as the Worthington center is.
“My daughter is signed up for ballet and tap. And I was at home with all four of my kids since they’re off school. So we thought, might as well come out for the ballet class,” Bixler says. “And she’s the only one in the ballet class.”
Alyce Hutchison-Doss came to Whetstone to participate in a pickle ball tournament. She says she tries not to pay too much attention to the cold.
“I have horses and I have dogs and cats and stuff," Hutchison-Doss says. "So I have to go out. I have to feed. So if I take it too seriously, I can’t take care of the things I need to take care of.
The National Weather Service issued a wind chill warning in Central Ohio that remains in effect until 1 p.m. Thursday. Wind chills as low as 40 below zero are expected.