By Sabina Mollot
Last week, Town & Village reported that a public meeting would soon take place to discuss concerns over the planned closure of the Peter Stuyvesant Post Office in 2014.
This week, a date for the meeting has been set by the U.S. Postal Service and Community Boards 3 and 6 for April 22 at 6:30 p.m. at the Campos Plaza Community Center.
Members of the public will also have the opportunity to submit written testimony, Sandro Sherrod, the chair of Community Board 6 said today. Testimony can be submitted through May 7. Originally the deadline was going to be April 20, but Sherrod said it was extended at the board’s request due to the fact that news of the closure has already concerned many in the community.
“There are a lot of older folks and limited mobility folks from Stuyvesant Town and this would present a hardship,” he said.
Even, Sherrod conceded, with the place’s infamous long lines and ornery employees.
“It’s a very inefficient operation there,” he said. “I’m always surprised at how long it takes to pick up my packages — never less than 20 minutes. But my neighbors are all talking about it.”
In response to the closure concerns, Connie Chirichello, a spokesperson for the USPS, said that although the location would be closing, a smaller center would reopen in its place somewhere else in the 10009 zip code. The USPS is looking for a 5,000 square foot center for customer service windows and mailboxes, while carriers would be rerouted to the Madison Square Post Office on East 23rd Street. This, the USPS said, shouldn’t affect customers in any way.
The agency said that it tried but was unable to reach a lease renewal agreement with the owner of the building, which is located between First Avenue and Avenue A. The lease is set to expire in February, 2014.
“We are not taking away service from the community – Delivery will continue as usual,” Chirichello said. “We are adjusting the amount of space that is actually needed to help reduce costs and at the same time make money. Customers will continue to see the same friendly employees they have come to know by name but only at the smaller post office. Customers will receive the same service they have come to expect and deserve.”
She also noted the need to downsize in space, since the entire agency has had to “tighten their belt not one notch but several.”
Citing some statistics, Chirichello noted that over the past eight years, the volume of first class mail volume has decreased 40 percent, while at the same costs have gone up for maintaining buildings, fueling up trucks, “and many of the high costs that affect all of us in our daily lives also affects business.”
As for where the station could be relocated, Sherrod said he didn’t have any ideas offhand. “I don’t think there are a lot of places in the area that are large enough,” he said.
He also added that he heard from the union that represents mail carriers that it was the owner who tried to renew the lease but that the USPS was the disinterested party.
The USPS will discuss its plans to move the Peter Stuyvesant station elsewhere at the April 22 meeting. The venue will be the Campos Plaza Community Center and gym at 611 East 13th Street (between Avenues B and C). This will be the second of two public meetings on this issue. The first meeting was held with the Manhattan Borough Board in March. Written testimony that’s submitted must reference the post office by name or location, the USPS said, and be sent to Joseph J. Mulvey, Facilities Implementation, U.S. Postal Service, 2 Congress Street, Room 8, Milford, MA, 01757-9998.