Village Hopeful on Post Office
As the U.S. Postal Service continues to streamline its operations, Pinehurst is taking a proactive stance in hopes of finding other possible uses for the post office building in the downtown.
Village Manager Andy Wilkison said he had been in contact with businesses and postal service officials about the fate of the downtown facility.
“With a town of 14,000 people and two post offices, to think they are not considering merging them would be sticking your head in the sand,” Wilkison said.
The other post office in Pinehurst is on Blake Boulevard.
A spokeswoman said the postal service is looking at all of its facilities across country.
“We are conducting studies to see if we might be able to make changes to our facilities that will be more efficient for our operations,” Enola Rice said.
Rice said no decision has been made on what to do, if anything, with the downtown post office.
She said factors that would be considered when reviewing the usefulness of any facility include mail volume, cost to maintain the building and operational costs, such as utilities and transportation costs.
Wilkison said postal officials have told him two studies are currently being conducted.
One study is examining the possibility of closing the downtown facility and merging its activities with the facility on Blake Boulevard. That study is still in the public-comment phase
The second study is one that will look at the downtown facility to determine how much space it currently occupies, how much space is actually needed and then whether or not any extra space could be leased for a compatible use.
“If we get to a point where it could be a consideration to close any facility, we will let the public know,” she said. “Right now, we are not at that point.”
Wilkison said the desire of the Village Council and downtown business owners he has spoken with is to try to work with the postal service to keep the facility open.
“The business people want the village to do what it can to keep the postal presence there,” he said. “So overall, we are going to do what we can to keep it operable.”
To that end, Wilkison said he has held discussions with postal service officials about the possibility of leasing space in the building to another business that is compatible with the current services of the post office. Two businesses have expressed interest in the space, he said.
Wilkison declined to name the businesses but did say they both would be new to the downtown. One business, he said, would be new to Pinehurst, and the other is currently operating elsewhere in Moore County.
“We are looking for something to bring people downtown and to be a good fit, not out of place downtown,” Wilkison said.
This issue of whether or not to close the downtown post office has continued 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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