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South Side post office faces possible closure



Published: Sat, October 13, 2007 @ 2:00 a.m.

A public meeting is

scheduled for 6 p.m.

Thursday at the main post office.

By ANGIE SCHMITT

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN — News that the U.S. Postal Service is considering closing its South Side station comes as a disappointment to 53-year-old Sam Fant.

The former South Side resident who now lives in Boardman keeps a post office box at the West Hylda Street branch. He said he visits two to three times each week and the station is generally pretty busy.

“There’s a steady flow of people, even on a Saturday,” he said.

But postal officials say business there has long been waning.

“This particular station has been declining over the years,” said David Van Allen, postal service spokesman. “People aren’t using it like they used to.”

That’s why the postal service is conducting a study about the feasibility of closing the station and transferring service to its main branch, 99 S. Walnut St., Van Allen said.

“We try to run as efficiently as possible,” he said. “The postal service is mandated by congress to run in a businesslike manner.”

The agency has distributed surveys asking neighborhood residents for their input on the proposed change. A public meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Oct. 18 at the main post office.

Van Allen said the postal service terminated the South Side Station’s status as a mail carrier years ago. The branch currently offers only post office boxes and window service.

Nevertheless, the proposal worries regulars like Fant.

“You have a lot of elderly people [in this neighborhood] who can’t get downtown,” he said.

Van Allen said the station’s employees would be transferred to the main branch. There are two full-time and one part-time employees.

The idea isn’t sitting well with members of the Youngstown Area Postal Workers Union Local 443.

Union president Raymond Stanar said the move would disrupt the public’s right to “universal service.” He said South Side customers should not have to bear the expense or burden of traveling downtown.

“By moving their operation downtown, it puts the people out who have been using that service for years,” he said. “It’s an inconvenience for them.”

Jolyn Bush, 54, agrees. Bush said she drops by about once a month to purchase stamps, more so on the Holidays, when she’s shipping packages.

“I live on the South Side, and I always come here,” she said. “I would not want to see it closed.”

Nor has Bush noticed evidence that the branch is becoming obsolete, she said.

“Everytime I come by, there’s people,” she said. “On some days, it’s pretty heavily trafficked.”

Van Allen said the post office is considering enacting the closure when the station’s lease expires next year. The postal service is awaiting the results of its survey and input generated by the Oct. 18 meeting before moving forward, he said.

aschmitt@vindy.com


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