Van Nest Post Office may close

The Van Nest Post Office, located 715 Morris Park Avenue, is one of seven locations in the Bronx being reviewed by the USPS for an upcoming consolidation to save money. Photo by Victor Chu

Apparently snow, rain, heat and gloom won’t stop the United States Postal Service, but technology and the recession might.

In an effort to save money, the USPS will be reviewing locations for what they term a ‘consolidation,’ including the Van Nest Post Office, located 715 Morris Park Avenue.

The review will occur over the next few months. Notification letters and questionnaires will be sent to residents around the selected postal stations. According to the USPS factors being reviewed include impact on employees, service standards, cost saving, customer access, environmental impact, real estate values, and long-term needs.

Community Board 11 and local residents are concerned about the effect this will have on a commercial strip already struggling to attract more customers and stores.

“I’m concerned because this will mean once again that that end of Morris Park is losing something,” said John Fratta, district manager of CB11. “All that is being done is taking away from them. There is a huge demand in that area, and whoever makes this decision would really be putting a dagger in the heart of the Van Nest community.”

The president of the Morris Park Business Alliance expressed his concern for residents of the area, especially the elderly, who depend upon the Van Nest Post Office.

“The merchants can get in a car and drive to another station, but this is an area full of seniors and I really feel closing that post office will be a detriment to them,” said Robert Ruggiero. “They aren’t computer savvy and have no alternative.”

Throughout the last 11 of 12 fiscal quarters, the USPA has reported a net loss, which for the fiscal 2009 year-to-date is a loss of $ 4.7 billion nationwide, a significant jump from the $ 1.1 billion loss last year.

Of the 677 sites being reviewed nationwide, seven are located throughout the Bronx, including Botanical Post Office, Clason Post Office, Crotona Park Post Office, Melcourt Post Office, Oak Point Post Office, and Hillside Post Office.

“I strongly recommend people and businesses in the area to pick up and fill out a survey because if this location closes it will dramatically affect our senior population. To ask our seniors and the elderly to go to the Parkchester Post Office and these other already congested stations is a travesty,” said Joe Bombace, local resident and CB11 member. “We need to step up to the plate now and voice our concerns because after October 1 the recommendations will be made.”

According to the USPS, no decisions are being made immediately and no employees will be affected by the consolidation.

“Too often when there needs to be cuts to essential services, the Bronx is the first to suffer- first our bus lines, then our firehouses and now our post offices,” said Senator Jeff Klein. “I will be calling the Bronx Postmaster to sit down with me and see if there is any way we can save the Van Nest Post Office from closing.”

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