November 16, 2009

Senator Gillibrand and Congressman Tonko Fight To Keep Capital Region Post Offices Open

U.S. Postal Service Is Considering Closing Four Postal Facilities In Albany, Scotia

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Paul Tonko today called on the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to consider local impacts including pedestrian access and neighborhood benefits when evaluating a consolidation plan that affects post offices in Albany and Scotia. The USPS is considering closing three post offices in the Capital Region – the Patroon, Pine, and Delaware Post Offices in Albany and the Scotia Post office of Mohawk Avenue in the Village of Scotia. Senator Gillibrand and Congressman Tonko raised concerns that the plan to close these branches affects the local character of the neighborhoods they serve. All three facilities are in heavily traversed areas where most patrons walk to and from their post office.
 
“It is unacceptable for the USPS to close four critical post offices in the Capital Region, which are vital to the local neighborhoods,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Most families and businesses that use these branches walk to their post office and know their Postmaster by name. Closing these post offices could have harmful economic consequences on our communities.”
 
“These post offices serve as a vital part of the communities they serve, pumping dollars to nearby businesses and contributing to the very fabric of their neighborhoods,” said Rep. Paul Tonko. “Closing these locations would be a hardship for those who depend on them for mail service, and especially for those seniors and disabled citizens who are not in a position to drive a distance to another facility. I implore the Postal Service to work with us and with the affected communities so that these offices remain open and a viable option for our communities,” said Congressman Tonko.
 
 "Post Offices, especially in urban centers, not only help to define neighborhoods, but also, greatly contribute to sense of community.  Therefore, before any decisions are finalized concerning closures, it is imperative to fully evaluate both the removal of needed services and the negative community impact that will result,” said Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings.
 
“The Scotia Post Office provides a valuable service to the residents of the Village, and is an important part of our efforts to create a walkable green community,” said Susan Savage, Chairwoman of the Schenectady County Legislature.  “I strongly urge the United States Postal Service to reconsider its proposal. The Village of Scotia offers nearly everything that our residents need and we need a post office that belongs on our Main Street, and that street is Mohawk Avenue,” said Schenectady County Legislature Chairwoman Susan Savage.
 
In their letter to Edward Phelan, District Manager of the USPS, Senator Gillibrand and Congressman Tonko wrote, “We are concerned that closing these facilities will not only lead to less patrons using the services of the United States Postal Service, but would have potentially harmful consequences from both an economic and environmental standpoint on our communities. Currently, all four post offices in question share unique characteristics and are vital to the local communities that they serve faithfully… We appreciate the need for the postal service to re-evaluate programs in light of the current economy. However, we believe there are ways to cut costs without reducing or denying service to our constituents.”
 
During three public hearings that were held over the past few weeks, USPS representatives stated that they will review and consider all input from local concerned postal patrons and from located elected officials.  
 
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