March 26, 2014
KANSAS CITY, Missouri – The fate of the Northeast Post Office Station may still be up in the air, but area residents will soon be able to utilize Post Office services all week with the addition of a Village Post Office at the North-East Library.
In an letter to northeast area residents, the United States Postal Service (USPS) announced it has entered into a partnership with the Kansas City Libraries to open a Village Post Office (VPO) at the North-East Branch, 6000 Wilson Road. A date for the grand opening has not yet been established, but officials are hopeful to have it this spring.
Richard Watkins, spokesman for the Postal Service Kansas City-based Mid-America District, couldn’t comment on whether or not the Village Post Office means the station at 105 N. Hardesty St., would close or not.
“No decision has been made to close the northeast location,” Watkins said. “It’s still under review.”
The USPS closed a post office station at 2657 Independence Ave. in November of 2010, and after meetings with area residents in the summer of 2013, many were worried the same fate would plague the Hardesty Street location. In October 2013, the Hardesty Street location had its hours cut to just two hours a day during the week, with no weekend service.
A Village Post Office is not a traditional, community post office. A VPO is a partnership with the USPS as an authorized postal provider, with limited postal services. The VPO supplies space for Post Office boxes and a priority mail display case while also selling stamp booklets. Post Office boxes will be installed in the North-Each VPO and will be maintained by the USPS. Existing P.O. Box numbers will be transferred from the Hardesty Street station. A collection box will be placed outside the library for customer convenience. The library VPO will accept flat rate parcels as well as prepaid online parcels.
“We’ll train the library employees to make these transactions,” Watkins said. “It will allow us to provide service seven days a week, something we can’t do with a traditional brick and mortar Post Office.”
The Hardesty Street station’s lone employee Traci Nunley said the response from patrons about the VPO has so far been positive. Customers are telling her they’re excited that an area Post Office will be open seven-days-a-week. The North-East Library’s hours of operation will also be the VPO’s hours of operation. The library is currently open seven-days-a-week from 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. Monday – Thursday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturday and 1 – 5 p.m. on Sunday.
“Knowing the Post Office gets fewer and fewer visitors at the brick and mortar locations, as well as fewer and fewer P.O. boxes being rented, we consider it a win win for everybody,” Watkins said.
Janice Buchanan currently has a P.O. box at the Hardesty Street station. She said she’s had the box for probably 45 years. She added she isn’t a fan of the move, which she believes will likely see the Hardesty Street location close.
“So many people in the area walk because they don’t have the means to drive,” Buchanan said.
For years, Buchanan said she’s been writing letters to local legislatures and city officials trying to save the northeast station. The post office used to be a gathering place for area residents, she said, as people would pick up their mail or packages and converse with neighbors. But not anymore.
“The [United States] Postal Service has to realize that not everyone can do everything online,” Buchanan said. “When they closed on Saturday’s, they ignored [the voice of] a lot of people.”