Palo Alto residents don't want post office shuttered

February 22, 2012 9:07:42 PM PST
The U.S. Postal Service has major plans to cut costs by closing some facilities and downsizing others. But the plan for its historic post office in downtown Palo Alto is causing quite an uproar.

Palo Alto's downtown post office is not only historic, for many residents it is part of their history. Sue Richardson has a relationship that goes back decades.

"I've had a box here since Jan. 2, 1967," Richardson said.

But now, the U.S. Postal Service has a plan to save $20 billion a year. The cost cutting equation includes selling seven Bay Area post offices, including Burlingame and Palo Alto. The idea is to relocate operations to much smaller spaces. With email cutting into the regular mail business, many customers understand the governments need to downsize.

"It's nice having a building here but I don't think it is quite necessary," Palo Alto Post Office customer Michelle Liu said.

No one has put a price tag yet on the on this historic building but Palo Alto city leaders aren't inclined to stand by and watch it be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

It's possible if the city bought the building, it could do some consolidating of its own and have just enough room left over for a tenant.

"It makes perfect sense for the city to lease this out and give up expensive lease land that we have for something like our development center which is half a block away and share this space with a reduced sized post office," Palo Alto City Councilmember Pat Burt said.

The idea is already gaining support. For many a post office, anywhere else just wouldn't be the same.

"I love this post office; it's localized, it's convenient for the community," Palo Alto Post Office customer Michele Pritchett said.

A postal spokesperson says the building sale is a business deal and it will do what is best for taxpayers.

"We're hitting the ground running and trying to get our facts together so we can make a credible proposal to the post office as soon as possible," Palo Alto Deputy City Manager Steve Emslie said.

The building could hit the market in mid May, but if Richardson has anything to say about it, her P.O. box isn't going anywhere without a fight.


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