Postal Service Considers Closing, Consolidating Columbus Branches

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The U.S. Postal Service says it’s considering closing or consolidating more than 30 of about 40 branches and stations in the Columbus area to save money.

At the Beechwold branch on High Street near Henderson, several customers including Sandy Booth had not heard about the postal service’s closure or consolidation study; or that Beechwold was one of the branches under consideration.

“I wasn’t aware that it was going to close or that it was proposed but I think it would be a real loss to the community,” Booth says. Columbus postal spokeswoman Kathy Lucas says nothing’s set in stone yet. But, she says, something has to be done to shore up the postal system’s national deficit.

“We are projecting a loss of more than $6 billion this year and a revenue shortfall of nearly $2.3 billion this fiscal year,” Lucas says. “Last year we lost almost two billion dollars. So we need to take some measures in order to help curtail some costs.”

One postal customer expressed surprise at the economic dilemma.

“If the postal service is in trouble, why are they in trouble? Are they spending too much money?”

Beechwold Customer Perry English.

“Maybe they should cut some salaries at the top and raise some prices at the bottom and be a little better business people,” English says.

What’s hurting most is the continuing decline in the volume of mail that the postal system handles. In 2006, Lucas says, the post office processed 213 billion pieces. This year, she says, the post office will handle an estimated 180 billion pieces.

At Beechwold Jessica Depp was disheartened by the news that the post office she uses might close.

“You know, I like snail mail,” Depp says. “I’m a big letter writer so it’s important to me. But I think that it’s unfortunate.”

A decision won’t be made until later in the year.