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US Postal Service still ponders fate of downtown office

By ALLISON MILES
Oct. 19, 2013 at 5:19 a.m.
Updated Oct. 20, 2013 at 5:20 a.m.


The future remains hazy for Victoria's Main Post Office.

No decision has yet been made when it comes to the possibility of closing the downtown office, 312 S. Main St., and combining operations with the James Moody Station office, 2804 Sam Houston Drive, said Sam Bolen, a U.S. Postal Service spokesman.

"We're still conducting a comprehensive review of that operation based on the customer feedback that we have," he said.

The Postal Service in June announced a study looking into the possibility of combining operations, and lofty rental rates were among the reasons the study began.

Each year, the Main Street post office pays $305,000 in rent and about $160,000 in utilities to the U.S. General Services Administration, the Advocate previously reported.

That equates to more than $38,000 a month.

Congressman Blake Farenthold, R-Corpus Christi, also noted the arrival of two Victoria Village Post Offices, which recently opened inside Daydream Creations and Redbird Books. The businesses offer basic services such as Priority Mail shipping, stamp sales and the like.

And, while he said it's good to see the Postal Service expanding its presence in Victoria, he said he's not sure the change bodes well for the downtown office.

"We're trying to keep it open or, at the very least, come up with a fallback position where the post office can keep some presence downtown," said Farenthold, who is chairman of the subcommittee that oversees the post office. "I think if we lost the post office boxes and lost a place to drop mail, that would be a problem."

There is a middle ground between keeping the entire downtown office open and shutting it down completely, he said, explaining he hopes the Postal Service examines all possibilities - including giving space back to the GSA - before deciding whether to close.

"You're always going to need to be able to move things around. You can't send everything through email," he said. "Sometimes, you've got to send atoms, not bytes."

Victoria Mayor Paul Polasek echoed Farenthold.

He said he would like to see the post office remain downtown as is, but if that isn't possible, it would be nice to see the mailboxes remain. Still, he acknowledged that the Postal Service needs to do what it takes to get by.

"In the end, they need to try to be a profitable entity," he said. "I recognize that that means they might have to change the way they do business."

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