By Paul T. Choate
May 9, 2012. Downtown merchants in Boone can stop worrying about having to drive down to Blowing Rock Road every day for their mail. The Downtown Boone Post Office will be one of 234 rural post offices that the United States Postal Service will allow to remain open.
“For the foreseeable future we will not be moving forward with any plans with things like closing any stations or branches. The Downtown Boone Post Office is considered a station or a branch,” said Carl Walton, communications coordinator with the USPS Greensboro District, on Wednesday afternoon.
Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC), who had called for the USPS to hold on plans for closing rural post offices, applauded the recent decision.
“This is great news for rural communities around our state,” Hagan said in a press release. “I’ve fought to keep rural post offices open because they provide crucial economic and social benefits to the community. I’m pleased that the voices of residents in these communities have been heard.”
Hagan voted last month, when the Senate passed the “21st Century Postal Service Act,” to extend the moratorium on rural post offices for one year. Then last week Hagan, along with a bipartisan group of Senators, wrote a letter to the Postmaster General asking him to extend the moratorium on post office closures at least until postal reform was signed into law.
The Downtown Boone Post Office, as with other rural post offices around the state, may face cuts in hours still, but according to Walton, that will be decided after a lot further assessment is done.
“We’re looking at how busy they are and how much work they actually do. So we’re looking to adjust the hours to the work they usually get,” Walton said.
Regardless, many downtown businesses — High Country Press included — will likely welcome sliced hours as opposed to driving halfway across town to pick up their mail.