TERRE HAUTE —
A new compromise from the United States Postal Service has some Wabash Valley postal customers relieved and others concerned.
The idea calls for keeping hundreds of small, rural post offices open instead of closing them, as was previously planned. However, the plan also calls for cutting retail hours at many additional post offices, including many that were not on the list to be closed.
“The new strategy would be implemented over a two-year, multi-phase approach and would not be completed until Sept. 2014,” the USPS said in a news release. The move would save the financially-troubled postal service a half billion dollars each year, the release stated.
Some small Wabash Valley communities were facing the prospect of having no local post office, and postal customers in those towns and villages are pleased, according to postal employees interviewed Tuesday who did not wish to be named.
“They are relieved that the post office is going to stay open,” said one rural postmaster whose post office was on the “close” list.
The new compromise would keep several Wabash Valley post offices open that were marked for closure including those in Bowling Green, Bridgeton, Coalmont, Cory, Fairbanks, Graysville, Hillsdale, Lewis, Merom, Pimento, Saint Bernice, Shepardsville and Universal.
Under the new proposal, all of those post offices would see their hours cut to two or four hours a day.
In addition, several other Wabash Valley post offices, including those in Carbon, Center Point, Clay City, Dana, Dugger, Fontanet, Harmony, Hymera, Knightsville, Marshall, Montezuma, New Goshen, Poland, Prairie Creek, Prairieton, Riley, St. Mary-of-the-Woods, Seelyville, Shelburn and Staunton would see their hours reduced to either four or six hours a day. The reduced hours are concerning to some residents in these communities.
Amanda Heffernan of Prairieton said she appreciates having a post office that’s open eight hours a day to allow her to pick up her mail. “I work eight hours a day,” she said Tuesday after picking up her mail at the town’s small post office.
Linda Anderson, who also uses the Prairieton post office, said she likes the convenience of the small-town facility. “We have always tried to keep our business here to keep this post office open,” Anderson said.
The changes proposed by the USPS would only cut the hours during which a postal employee would serve customers at a post office’s retail window. The lobby and PO box areas of rural post offices would remain open during the same hours they currently are available, the USPS said in the news release.
All of these proposals remain tentative. The USPS must still present them to the Postal Regulatory Commission. The postal service also plans to hold community meetings over the proposals. Communities will be notified by mail of the date of such meetings, the USPS stated.
Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at (812) 231-4232 or email@example.com.