Senator Jeff Klein took a stand for the Van Nest community and the Bronx during the Postal Regulatory Commission public hearing,.
The public hearing held by the PRC on Wednesday, September 23 at Fordham University was designed to gain information on the process of consolidation by the United States Postal Service, currently reviewing the future of seven post offices.
According to Deputy Borough President Aurelia Greene the seven closures would amount to 17% of the post offices in the county and the action contradicts the borough’s 11% population increase between 1990 and 2000.
Despite the PRC intentions, the speakers took this opportunity to oppose specific closures, including the Van Nest Post Office.
In his testimony, Klein stated that according the last US Census, Community Board 11 had over 11,000 households with one or more persons over 65 years old, totaling approximately 17,200 seniors.
“As a resident of this area, as well as a State Senator, I can personally attest that many of these seniors walk around in their community taking care of their daily chores, which include a visit to the post office,” said Klein.
It was the concern of many at the hearing that the elderly who are dependent on these smaller post offices do not have the means or ability to learn the technology necessary to tackle the USPS online services, and would be burdened by having to travel to further postal offices.
“All that closing the Van Nest post office would accomplish is disenfranchise an already disenfranchised segment of the population and I can’t sit there idly and say nothing,” said Klein.
Additionally, Klein and CB11 members worry that losing this post office will threaten the ongoing efforts to revitalize lower Morris Park and Van Nest, including attempts to bring a banking institution into the neighborhood. Without a bank in this community, many seniors rely on the post office for money orders.
“I live in that area and it is already being underserved. To lose this post office wouldn’t be beneficial to the community,” said Joe Bombace, CB11 member and local resident present at the hearing. “The next nearest post office is over a mile away.”
PRC chair Ruth Goldway assured guests that no closures would occur before Friday, October 2 and urged the USPS to reveal the consolidation criteria.