The postal service announced Tuesday that it would conduct studies of 3,700 of the 32,000 post offices in operation across the country. The studies will be part of a “right-sizing” of the postal service’s network of offices, the release stated.
Thirty-four Alabama post offices are on the list of offices to be studied. Included on that list is the McClellan post office –- near the former Fort McClellan Post Exchange -– the East Gadsden post office, and the Cragford post office in Clay County.
Conspicuously absent from the list are the post offices in the Clay County communities of Millerville and Hollins, where residents recently voiced concerns about plans to consolidate their post offices. It wasn’t clear, late Tuesday, whether their absence from the list meant the two post offices were safe from closure.
Anniston City Councilman John Spain said he was not surprised the McClellan office is on the chopping block, though he said closing the post office would be a bad choice.
“I suspected it,” said Spain, who lives at McClellan. “I had heard that was under consideration.”
Spain said removing the post office would hinder plans to develop McClellan.
“One of the reasons I’m concerned is that, if there’s a place in Anniston that’s poised for growth, McClellan is it,” he said. “It’s a shame to lose a post office in a place in a place that’s going to be growing.”
City leaders have looked to McClellan as a site for future development since the former Army base closed down more than a decade ago. While a civilian community now inhabits some of the former base housing at McClellan, broader plans for industrial development have been mired in legal disputes.
Spain said that, despite the stalled development, the McClellan post office does a brisk business.
“It’s not nearly as busy as downtown, but there are times when it’s very busy,” he said.
Spain said he would discuss the matter with the area’s Congressional delegation.
Postal Service officials couldn’t immediately be reached for comment late Tuesday. The postal service press release noted that many communities are served by post offices inside retail stores, without stand-alone post offices. The release also said that those smaller operations would be a “potential replacement option” for communities where stand-alone post offices are closed.
“Our customer’s habits have made it clear that they no longer require a physical post office to conduct most of their postal business,” Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe was quoted as saying in the press release.
The release cited growing interesting in the postal service’s online business and growing use of in-store post offices as reasons for the “right-sizing.”