Mailbox returned to Main Street Service: After residents protest the removal of six mailboxes from the front of the old Westminster post office, the U.S. Postal Service puts one back.

August 30, 1998|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,SUN STAFF

Realizing that it's hard to break a nearly hundred-year-old habit, the U.S. Postal Service has replaced one of the six outside mailboxes removed last weekend from the post office on Westminster's Main Street.

Letters and packages have been sent from the downtown area since 1899, and the disappearance of the collection boxes was not well received by longtime customers. Postal workers removed the boxes as they completed their move to a new facility in Englar Business Park.

"In response to customer needs, we put a box back in front of the old post office," said Irene Lericos, manager of corporate relations at the U.S. Postal Service Center in Columbia.

"Customers should be happy," she said.

Postal officials replaced the box after meeting Friday morning with city officials. They also put a new collection box at City Hall.

R. Douglas Mathias, executive director of the Greater Westminster Development Corporation, said he's glad to see the mailbox at City Hall and the return of a collection box to the old post office site.

"The customers need them," said Mathias. "A new post office is fine, but they've gotten mail for almost 100 years on Main Street."

Postal officials said they removed the mailboxes to let people know that the downtown post office was closed. The new post office, a $2.7 million facility on Woodward Road, opened July 20.

Shortly before moving, postal officials put the Main Street building on the market but agreed to continue retail service at the old post office for 30 to 60 days -- until all operations were moved to the new post office.

Postal officials notified customers of the move several months in advance, hanging notices on the doors of the old post office and leaving fliers in post office boxes.

But Mathias said the removal of the six outside mailboxes from Main Street was a surprise to regular customers.

"We were very stunned to find out on Monday morning that the boxes weren't there," Mathias said. "I watched people get out of their cars and try to mail envelopes and say, 'What's going on?' "

Mathias and postal officials are seeking proposals to operate a retail service -- selling stamps and mailing packages -- in downtown Westminster on a contract basis. But no agreement has been reached.

If warranted, Lericos said, the U.S. Postal Service will replace more of the mailboxes removed from the old post office site and put new mailboxes in other downtown locations.

Pub Date: 8/30/98

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