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Arizona shipping containers converted to cooling centers



Two of the converted containers are being used in the Capitol Mall area as cooling centers run by the Arizona Faith Network.

PHOENIX — A couple of the shipping containers purchased by former Arizona Governor Doug Ducey to block holes at the Arizona-Mexico border are being put to good use this summer. 

Two of the converted containers are being used in the Capitol Mall area as cooling centers run by the Arizona Faith Network. One is located off 19th Avenue and Adams Street and the other is near 16th Avenue and Jefferson Street.

“I think it’s really a wonderful idea to refurbish these as the community does need more cooling centers,” Arene Rushdan with the organization said. “We’re able to offer that relief with our unsheltered community members as well as other community members who may not be cranking up their air conditioner because of the high cost.”

Rushdan said the center, which is run by solar panels, offers water and sometimes snacks to those needing to find relief from the summer heat.

George Stephens used one of the cooling centers and said he was grateful to be able to cool down and read his books.

“Since I’m homeless, I like to come to a place like this, it gives me a way from the heat,” Stephens said. “I appreciate the government going out of their way to do something like this for the environment of people you know.”

The two locations are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., 7 days a week.

In 2023, Ducey purchased more than 2,000 shipping containers and set them up along the border to block people from entering Arizona illegally. 

A federal lawsuit was filed against Ducey and he later agreed to take them down. $76 million in state funds was spent to remove the containers on top of the $95 million it cost to put them there.

Gov. Katie Hobbs later set up the containers to be auctioned; to date, only 444 have been sold. According to the Arizona Department of Administration, there are around 1,600 unconverted original containers left to sell.

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