Main Street post office put on study list for closure
July 29, 2011
The Main Street post office, the place where people in Old Town collect their mail and the spot where random encounters with neighbors have occurred over the years, could be shuttered under an idea announced this week by the Postal Service.
The Postal Service has included the Main Street location in a study that will be an important step in determining which post offices across the U.S. will be closed in a response to fewer people using brick-and-mortar Postal Service facilities.
The Main Street location is one of 15 in Utah that will be studied. There will be approximately 3,700 locations, known as retail offices, studied nationwide.
Robert Vunder, a Postal Service official assigned to Utah and Idaho, said the workload at the Main Street post office has declined over the past four years. The decline has accelerated in the last two years, he said.
The Postal Service study will involve gathering data about the post offices that were included on the list. Vunder said some of the statistics that will be considered include the number of transactions at a site. The Postal Service will also review what alternative locations people have for postal services.
The Postal Service anticipates holding a town hall-style meeting about the potential of closing the Main Street location. Vunder said the gathering could be scheduled in September.
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Decisions about the closures are expected in the middle of November, he said. Locations set for closure will be shuttered early next year.
The only other post office inside the Park City limits is located on Park Avenue next to the police station.
The Main Street post office occupies a high-traffic location midway up the street. The counter serves a mix of customers, including Parkites and people who are visiting Park City.
The Main Street location also is the place where many Parkites must collect their mail. The Postal Service does not provide home delivery in Old Town, and the Main Street post office is where many people in the neighborhood get their mail. Vunder said there are 2,350 post-office boxes rented at the Main Street location.
If the Postal Services closes the Main Street location, Vunder said, options for providing post-office boxes could include an agreement with a retailer to create what he calls a ‘village’ post office.
It is not clear what would happen to the building if the Postal Service closes the facility. The property would be prized by the private sector if it is put up for sale, but City Hall could also have an interest given the high-profile location.
City Hall is monitoring the Postal Service’s discussions and sees the Main Street location as important to the street. Jon Weidenhamer, who manages City Hall’s economic development programs, said the municipal government wants the Postal Service to keep the Main Street location open. He talked about the post office’s value as a place where Parkites bump into each other.
"We consider them to be an anchor tenant," he said, adding, "It’s what makes us a real town, having our post office there."