March 28, 2011
Anthony Williams, Regional District Manager
United States Postal Service
100 1st Street
Minneapolis, MN 55401-9990
Dear Mr. Williams,
We are writing to respond to your recent letter to Mayor Mary Rossing in which you state that you are considering a consolidation of USPS operations in Northfield, Minnesota to the USPS “Carrier Annex,” two miles south of our downtown. In our view, the proposed consolidation does not make economic sense for the USPS and is not in the interest of the Northfield community.
If the objective of the USPS is to pursue improved efficiency, it’s hard to see how that outcome is served by the proposed consolidation. As you surely know, the Carrier Annex is located on the southern-most boundary of our City. What’s more, USPS documents estimate that it will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to expand that building and parking lot so that they can handle the services that are provided at your more convenient downtown location. That expenditure is likely to be met with a significant decline in revenue as local residents and businesses turn to your competitors. The best place for a postal presence in Northfield is right where you are – on the historic village green, Bridge Square, in the heart of our downtown.
A postal presence in downtown Northfield is an economic necessity for our community. Northfield has a vibrant downtown commercial district and one of the reasons for that vitality is the presence of two key service destinations – the Northfield Carnegie Public Library and the Bridge Square Post Office. The downtown Post Office has a constant flow of commercial and residential customers, six days a week. 250 commercial enterprises (many of them small businesses) are located within walking distance of the Post Office. With the steadily rising percentage of downtown residents, our citizens and businesses rely on the postal box and window services available at the downtown facility. The loss of this traffic would be devastating. Moreover, forcing customers to undertake a four-mile round trip to conduct daily postal business is likely to lose you customers, and what business you do retain would require an unwelcome increase of vehicular traffic and carbon emissions in our community.
Your records indicate a drop in customer visits to the downtown Post Office from 2009 to 2010. We would offer that during those two years, there was substantial downtown road construction, much of it immediately adjacent to the Post Office as the City reconstructed portions of 4th and 5th Streets and the riverfront between 4th and 5th Streets. We imagine that some folks made other arrangements during the months that traffic was rerouted. It would be unfortunate if a permanent decision were to be based on a temporary cause.
We appreciate the opportunity for us to share our concerns and perspectives with you and we hope that the Bridge Square Post Office will remain open for many years to come.
Dan Bergeson, Carleton College
On behalf of the Save the Bridge Square Post Office Task Force:
Keith Covey, Northfield Downtown Development Corporation
Ross Currier, Northfield Downtown Development Corporation
Rick Estenson, Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce
Jody Gunderson, City of Northfield
Suzie Nakasian, Northfield City Council
Brett Reese, Rebound Enterprises