Post Office in Downtown Pinehurst to Close Aug. 19
The downtown post office in Pinehurst will close Aug. 19, and its operations will be consolidated at the Blake Boulevard location.
Calling the closing a necessary move to maintain its financial viability, a spokesperson for the U.S. Postal Service on Monday said that all employees at the downtown post office also will be relocated to the Blake Boulevard facility.
“We are in a dire financial situation,” said Enola Rice, spokesperson for the Postal Service, “and are making changes so we can make sure we will be here in the future.”
According to a report to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the U.S. Postal Service reported a net loss of $2.6 billion in the first half of this fiscal year.
Pinehurst Mayor Ginsey Fallon said she was “heartbroken” by the decision to close the downtown branch.
“But at the same time, I think we have seen the handwriting on the wall for some time,” she said.
Rice did not say what plans, if any, the Postal Service had for the downtown building.
Village Manager Andy Wilkison on Monday said the village will continue to be involved in any discussions about the future of the building.
In May, Wilkison said the village would do what it could to keep the facility operable. He said it was exploring options such as leasing part of the building to a business. He said then that two businesses had expressed interest in the building, but declined to identify those businesses.
He wasn’t very optimistic at the time about keeping the facility open. He said that thinking the Postal Service was not considering merging the two facilities would “be sticking your head in the sand.”
Downtown business owners and other residents have been vocal about trying to save the historic building. When asked about the closure Monday, many residents said they understood the reasoning behind the decision but didn’t like it.
“I’m a little disappointed,” Jennifer Maples said. “It does bring traffic to the village, and there is not a lot going on right now. It’s just one more closing.”
Fallon said she has asked the village staff to invite a representative from the Postal Service to the Village Council meeting July 19 in hopes of discussing options for the building. She said the impact that the closing could have on visitors to downtown is “always a concern.”
“Going to the downtown post office is a ritual, a tradition for so many, and it’s not going to be the same if they have to go someplace else to get their mail,” she said.
Village Council member Doug Lapins also expressed frustration over the news of the closure, calling the post office an “important part of the village.”
Resident Alice Alston and others said they would miss the convenience of the downtown location, even though it is less than two miles from the Blake Boulevard post office.
Others were more philosophical about the decision to close the post office.
“It is a bit of an inconvenience, but I’ll meet the same people down there as I do here,” Joanne Padgett said.
Rice said the post office boxes at the downtown branch will be relocated to the Blake Boulevard facility. Residents who don’t want to have their boxes relocated have the option to have mail delivered to a home or business address, she said.
According to a letter posted on the door of the downtown post office, those with post office boxes in that building will be able to pick up mail until 1 p.m. Aug. 19. After that the boxes will be relocated to the Blake Boulevard facility and mail will be available for pickup there beginning at 4 p.m.
The Blake Boulevard post office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday.
This issue of whether or not to close the downtown post office has been continuing for several years.
In February 2009, then- Postmaster Denise Krise told the council she had “no plans anywhere in the future to make any kind of closing down there.” She did tell the council that she was proposing some budget cuts, including cutting back on the hours of operations. Those were the first changes to the post office since 2002.
Contact Tom Embrey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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