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Examiner
  • Postal Service still eyeing consolidation

  • U.S. Postal Service officials hope to complete the consolidation of the two Blue Springs post offices into one by July 2014.



    Richard A. Watkins, a spokesperson for the Mid-America District of the Postal Service, said that the main post office building in downtown Blue Springs was officially put on the market on Thursday, which is the first step in the consolidation process.

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  • U.S. Postal Service officials hope to complete the consolidation of the two Blue Springs post offices into one by July 2014.
    Richard A. Watkins, a spokesperson for the Mid-America District of the Postal Service, said that the main post office building in downtown Blue Springs was officially put on the market on Thursday, which is the first step in the consolidation process.
    In early February, the Postal Service had formally notified the city of Blue Springs of its plan to close the building at 200 N.W. 11th St., and move all of its Blue Springs operations to the carrier annex building at 500 S.W. South Ave., which is off Missouri 7 just north of Hy-Vee and the railroad tracks.
    Despite a letter of appeal by Blue Springs Mayor Carson Ross to the Postal Service, Watkins said there are still plans to consolidate the two offices, citing the fact that the Postal Service is losing $25 million per day as the main reason.
    Watkins said the Postal Service chose the annex building for the consolidation because it has double the floor space of the downtown building, with 22,000 square feet at the annex compared to just more than 11,000 square feet downtown.
    Watkins said the annex will be redesigned and renovated to handle retail operations, equipment and the 43 carrier routes that Blue Springs handles. A redesign of the annex building will begin in August with construction likely starting in January 2014. If that timeline is met, he said the Postal Service expects the full relocation to be done by July 2014.
    “We’ll wait for a short period of time to assess the interest in the property,” Watkins said of selling the downtown building. “… Depending on financial conditions and funding, the relocation could be moved up a few months or even put on hold until the property closes on the sale.”
    The mayor sent a letter of appeal in late February after receiving the formal letter telling the city of the plans to consolidate earlier that month. He argued that it would hurt the downtown revitalization plans.
    “We strongly believe this decision is not in the best interest of our Community ...” Ross wrote in the letter. He added that closing the downtown facility “will present a major stumbling block to the revitalization of Downtown Blue Springs,” Ross wrote, adding that developments as a commuter rail stop downtown were also planned.
    Watkins said that the consolidation is just part of an effort to save money in the Mid-America District and the entire Postal Service, which is not taxpayer supported. He said consolidating a Kansas City, Kan., processing plant into the Kansas City, Mo., plant is saving $9 million a year. He said next year the Postal Service plans to fold a processing plant in Springfield, Mo., into the Kansas City facility as well.
    Page 2 of 2 - Watkins also said that, despite rumors to the contrary, the post office in the Englewood district in Independence would not be closing. The Postal Service is however, moving its carriers from that office to the downtown Independence facility.
    “The carriers will have the same routes, and retail operations and P.O. boxes will remain at the Englewood office,” Watkins said. “It means that all the carriers will be coming out of one office now instead of splitting it between two stations. It means there will be one fewer transportation trip to Englewood. It may mean a few minutes difference on when mail is delivered, but the majority of people in Independence won’t see any change at all in their service.”
    Watkins added there are no plans now to close the Englewood facility.
    “But we’re always reviewing all operations,” he said.
     
     
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