Stamping out of post office upsets Brooklandville

Residents fear loss of `town identity' if facility closes, as scheduled, in June

February 17, 2006|By LAURA BARNHARDT | LAURA BARNHARDT,SUN REPORTER

A small handwritten sign taped to the directory of stores and offices at Green Spring Station reads: "Save the Post Office. Complain Now."

Notices were mailed out this week that the U.S. Postal Service would close its Brooklandville branch in the Green Spring Station shopping and office complex this summer when its lease expires. A spokeswoman said the postal service is looking for another location.

But the post office's current location will become part of a bakery. It's unclear whether the central Baltimore County community will get a new branch, and that has upset some longtime Brooklandville postal customers.

"At worst, we're going to lose our addresses, our post office boxes and our town identity," said Marty Katz, a photographer and writer based in Brooklandville. "At best, we're going to have to travel to another town to get our mail."

The fate of the post office has drawn the attention of two Maryland congressman, Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger and Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, whose district includes Green Spring Station. Spokeswomen for both congressmen say their offices are urging the post office to find a location for a facility in the community.

"We feel like they need a post office in that neighborhood," said Heather Molino, a spokeswoman for Ruppersberger, who has received calls from constituents who use the Brooklandville post office. "People depend on it."

The 21022 Brooklandville postal zone is scattered within larger postal zones for Lutherville and Pikesville. The zone is essentially the post office, along with the Park School, the St. Paul's schools and Maryvale Preparatory.

A spokeswoman at the Park School said that the school hopes to hear the outcome of efforts to relocate the post office sooner rather than later because it might mean changing the school's address on brochures and other printed materials.

"We're moving along now as if we'll have to make the change," said Hillary Jacobs.

Mail isn't delivered from the Brooklandville post office, a small facility that includes a wall of postal boxes, a copier and a counter with enough room for two postal employees to serve customers. It's nestled among restaurants, a spa, boutiques and medical offices at Green Spring Station, making it a popular stop for residents and business people in the area.

About 550 of the 753 post office boxes at Brooklandville are rented, according a postal service spokeswoman.

Thomas L. Peddy, a Green Spring Station owner and a principal of Foxleigh Enterprises, said he negotiated a new lease with the U.S. Postal Service, which he said wanted a larger space in the complex. But the postal service said it would be hard for large trucks to make mail deliveries to that space. Peddy said that he found another tenant, Mano Schwartz, for that space.

He also said that while he was negotiating with the post office on the larger space, he committed its current location to Stone Mill Bakery, which plans to expand.

"We didn't want them to leave," Peddy said of the post office, adding that he lobbied for the post office to move to Green Spring Station more than 20 years ago. "For the community, it's a real loss. And it's been great for our businesses."

Deborah Yackley, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Postal Service, said that officials are continuing to look for "alternative quarters" for the Brooklandville post office, though a letter sent by a postal official this week simply said the post office was closing.

A possible site for the post office would involve improvements to a nearby building, but postal officials haven't decided whether to make the investment, Yackley said. Because the improvements couldn't be completed by the end of June when the Brooklandville post office lease expires, she said the post office "will have to be closed at least temporally."

Some say that the Brooklandville post office helps provide an identity for the area. The area, near Towson, Ruxton, Lutherville and Pikesville, takes its name from Brookland Wood, a mansion built by Richard Caton, son-in-law of Charles Carroll of Carrollton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

"It's a historical area, and it's a beautiful name," said Lisa Blue, who lives nearby and sent post cards to businesses and other residents who, like her, rent post office boxes at Brooklandville, telling them to call their congressmen about the post office's future.

"It's not only a convenience to have a post office here," Blue said. "It's sentimental, too."

laura.barnhardt@baltsun.com

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