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Postal Service Plan to Close Certain Neighborhood Post Offices Reversed

By P.L. Wolff

DC Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, who, as a senior member of both the House committee and subcommittee having jurisdiction over the Postal Service (USPS), has been vigorously advocating USPS should avoid closing neighborhood post offices, has confirmed to The InTowner that seven of the 19 city’s post offices that were on the list for possible for closure are no longer being considered, or, as USPS stated, “not viable for closure.”

Among those facilities that will continue to be operated are Temple Heights, serving Dupont North and Adams Morgan South at Florida Avenue and T Street, and Techworld, serving Chinatown and Mt. Vernon Square, at 8th and K Streets.

Another matter of concern has to do with neighborhood post offices that have leases expiring in 2012. Among those is the T Street station which will remain at its present location if a new lease can be successfully negotiated. Also on the list of leases expiring is the facility at 1915 14th Street, NW serving the burgeoning 14th and U Streets area. That facility, however, cannot be expected to remain at that location even if it was not on the closure list as it is now; the property’s owner plans to raze the one-story commercial building that extends to Wallach Place and to re-develop the lot with a multi-story replacement.

Finally, there were numerous complaints about inadequate public hearing notice and hearing location in connection with the Kalorama station at 2300 18th Street and the 20th Street station located between M and N Streets which caused Norton to call on USPS to schedule new public hearings.

In the case of the Kalorama closure hearing, Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham as well as a number of constituents had complained to Norton’s office about the hearing having been held at the Cleveland Park Library in Ward 3, even though the Kalorama station is located in Ward 1 and serves Adams Morgan and not Cleveland Park on the west side of Rock Creek. And, with regard to the 20th Street station hearing, those notices were mailed so late that too many residents had minimal or virtually no notice – many not receiving the notices until the day of the hearing.

As Congresswoman Norton reported, “USPS officials acknowledged that these irregularities would have affected resident turnout, and have agreed to plan additional public meetings for each of these post offices.”