Four posts offices being considered for closure or consolidation were taken off the list in a move that has prompted hope that others facing a similar fate may be spared the axe.
The locations removed from the USPS study are Einstein Loop in Co-op City, Hunts Point, West Farms, and Castle Hill, United State Postal Service spokeswoman Darleen Reid confirmed.
The decision by the USPS, announced to the community by Congressman Joseph Crowley on Wednesday, January 18, was applauded by the legislator. Crowley held a rally with hundreds of residents in Co-op City to save two community post offices from closing on November 14, 2011 and was one of 226 sponsors of the ‘Save America’s Postal Service’ bill in 2011.
“I am so glad USPS has come to realize what the community and I have known all along: these post offices are much more than a place to drop off mail; they provide the essential services that residents rely on every day,” Crowley said. “Keeping these post offices open has been a joint effort, and I want to thank my partners — residents, business owners and community advocates — for dedicating their time and energies to help secure this outcome. I also want to reassure the community that I will continue to fight to keep the remaining post offices and facilities in our area open.”
Five other facilities in Crowley’s district are still facing closure or consolidation, including the Clason Point, Dreiser Loop, Esplanade, Hillside, and Van Cott post offices. Other post offices that have been considered include Melcourt, Morrisania, Stadium, University Heights, Botanical, Cranford, Fieldston, and Spuyten Duyvil, according to a list of post offices that are part of the “Expanded Access study” on the USPS website. Any decisions on closure or consolidation have been delayed until May 2012.
Feasibility studies are done on a case-by-case basis for each location, and are part of a new top-down approach, said USPS spokeswoman Congetta Chirichello.
“Some of the factors in the study process include analysis of current office needs, customer access to postal products and services, the condition of the facility, lease terms, retail transactions and community input,” Chirichello said. “Use of retail facilities is also assessed. We look at this data and the overall impact to customers and the local community, employees, the environment and the actual cost savings before any decision is made.”
Input from the community and elected officials in this process is welcome, Chirichello said. The USPS should continue keeping a strong presence in local neighborhoods, Crowley said.
Prior to this announcement, there were 34 post offices being considered for closure or consolidation in New York City, with 17 or 50% in the Bronx, said Chuck Zlatkin, legislative and policy director for the New York Metro Area Postal Union, which has stanchly opposed any cuts.
Zlatkin said, “These four in particular — Einstein, Castle Hill, West Farms, and Hunts Point — made their case and it is a real positive development that they are staying open.”
Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at (718) 742-3393