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Residents: Don't Close Our Historic Post Office

Over 50 people, including Morristown Mayor Tim Dougherty, came out Thursday to voice opposition toward Morris Street branch's potential closure.

More than 50 people gathered Thursday night to voice their opposition against the possible closure of the Morris Street post office.

It was the second of two meetings at the Ridgedale Avenue post office on possible closures the U.S. Post Office is considering nationwide, in order to rein in its soaring debt. About 75 people came out on Wednesday in opposition to .

Maryanne Battan, the manager of post office operations for the Morristown area, noted the significant financial loss that the Postal Service has seen this year alone. "In the first quarter of fiscal year 2012 the Postal Service lost $5 billion, and we expect significant losses during the rest of the fiscal year," she said.

This financial loss has lead the Postal Service to issue a cost-cutting plan, one that could potentially close 3,700 post offices nationwide, with two of those located in the Morristown area. , and Postal Service officials project that the company will lose $19 billion in 2016 if no steps are taken to change operations. 

The crowd Thursday was a mix of lifelong residents of Morristown, war veterans, and workers in the area, all who said they strongly believe the Morris Street post office should be kept open.

Issues raised during the meeting included accessibility concerns for the Ridgedale Avenue post office–which would be the only option for the area if the other two locations closed, lack of parking spots at that location, and the historic importance of the Morris Street post office.

Morristown Mayor Tim Dougherty, who attended the meeting, mentioned two significant things about Morristown that he believes postmasters should understand before making their decision. The first was the historic value of the post office in Morristown, the second the issue of accessibility.

"Many people don't have vehicles, it's a walkable community," Dougherty said. "It's important that our people who don't have the ability to drive have the ability to access the United States Post Office that we pay our taxes for."

The Morris Street post office is located right off the Green, where the Ridgedale Avenue office is on a road not particularly suited for means of transportation other than a car. 

Bob Tracey, a lifelong Morristown resident and former 30-year Morristown postmaster, explained how the closures would impact senior citizens. Tracey, an 86 year-old World War II and Vietnam veteran, slowly stood up from his wheel chair demonstrating how people like him need easy access for transportation.

"People today are aging, they can't drive anymore. As you can see, people like myself who can't drive have to get transportation or we have to walk," Tracey said to a round of applause. "I went for two wars, and came back and still served my community, and I'm serving it now. Don't take the heart out of Morristown and rip that Morris Street post office out of here." 

Another concern brought up was about how the town is growing.

"We're becoming a community that is trying to become walkable and environmentally safer and to go green," Dougherty said. "That means more people moving downtown, less cars, more foot traffic."

Don Kisco mentioned how Morristown is a multicultural community, and how many people need access to the post office. He said that some international people who send packages oversees don't have a way of getting to the Ridgedale Avenue post office. 

All comments made from the meetings including comments or surveys will become part of an official document for review before any final decision is made about closure.

In the last four years, revenue at the Morris Street office has dropped from $771,376 to $615,590. Though, it may not just be about numbers to the residents concerned.

"I think we should put some type of petition drive together to let the congressman know that we're serious about trying to save this historic post office," Dougherty said. "I know that this is all about numbers to the United States Post Office, and I can respect that, but for us it's something a little bit bigger, and we have to let them know that." 

Chris March 12, 2012 at 04:09 PM
Yes revenue at this location has dropped, but how much profit are they making (or how bad are their losses)? What are the financials of each location? Plus, why can't they open up a smaller location nearbywhich would continue to provide the in town convenience, but without the massive rent/overhead that their current location appears to have. Yes, I think the building is awesome and was prob quite an amazing post office in its prime, but if/when the post office leaves, I am sure there is going to be a great new tenant in the building. Times are hard. Everyone must sacrifice and emotion has to be subservient to profits/losses.

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