November 17, 2011 —
The people in my community of Pond Eddy, NY are devastated by the proposed closing of the post office that serves our tiny hamlet. It is one of nine in the area that have been targeted by the United States Postal Service (USPS) for closing. The post office is, for many of us in small rural hamlets, the center of our communities.
The post office in Pond Eddy is where people run into each other on a daily basis, exchange greetings and news (“Have you seen, the river’s really high?” “Maggie’s back in the hospital again...”) and check out the bulletin board (“Low cost neutering for cats!”) as well as pick up their mail.
In fact, the post office is where I probably first met most of the people I know in this town.
I realize that the tiny Pond Eddy Post Office doesn’t generate a huge amount of income. But then again, it can’t be costing a great deal either. I am the owner of the post office building and know that the USPS pays only a modest sum for rent.
Pond Eddy is a little hamlet that lies low by the beautiful, still natural, Upper Delaware River. If we have to drive up to Glen Spey to get our mail, as proposed, there are many complications: a four-plus mile drive up a steep, winding road that is sometimes treacherous in winter. The additional cost of an eight-mile round trip to pick up mail. For those without a car, I presume the USPS will have to supply home delivery. That can’t come cheap, thereby offsetting any savings.
On the day that a representative from the USPS came to talk to the community, a large crowd crammed into the post office. Several people spoke up at the meeting, vociferous, passionate, even; I had not realized how important the post office was to the people of this community until I saw the intensity of their pleas.
I myself get my meds (including insulin) through the post office, along with plants for my garden, clothing and other items that I purchase on-line. Of course there are many others who do the same.
Whoever said that tiny post offices should have to be self-sustaining? They’re a small, but essential, part of a huge system that takes in a great deal of revenue, overall.
My understanding is that the USPS actually takes in enough revenue to support the entire system, including tiny outposts such as the one in Pond Eddy, except for a requirement requiring funding of future pensions. Wouldn’t it make more sense to try to fix that problem rather than depriving American citizens in rural areas of something essential to their way of life? I hope the USPS will work hard for a resolution such as that, rather than closing down something so important to the heart and soul of rural American life as the community post office.
I am very grateful to Congressman Maurice Hinchey and his staff, who have been working valiantly on behalf of our little post office, and all the little post offices in this area, to keep them open.
There is action people can take. I urge my neighbors and fellow citizens to write to Leslie Johnson, Manager, Consumer Industry Contact, USPS - Westchester District, 1000 Westchester Avenue, P.O. Box 9608, White Plains, NY 10610-9608, to express their concern and dismay about these proposed closings. Send a copy to Congressman Hinchey’s office (16 James Street, 3rd floor, Middletown, NY 10940; fax 845/342-2070), as well as to Senators Schumer and Gillibrand. To be effective, letters should reach Lubrano before Thanksgiving, November 24.
[Joan Rosenfelt is a resident of Pond Eddy, NY.]