Three Akron neighborhoods will get to keep their post offices after all.
Branches in Kenmore, North Hill and South Arlington have been taken off a list of sites being considered for closure as the U.S. Postal Service makes sweeping changes as it struggles to stave off bankruptcy.
“There is not enough space in a neighboring station or branch to make discontinuance (of those locations) cost effective at this time,” said David Van Allen, a USPS spokesman based in Cleveland.
Post offices in Norton, Canton (Waterworks) and Portage County (Wayland) and processing centers in Akron and Canton are still under review for possible closure. A proposal under consideration would combine the Norton and Barberton post offices at the existing building in Barberton.
Akron Councilman Jeff Fusco said residents had been sending the USPS emails and letters and making phone calls opposing the shutdowns.
“This is great news for the short run,” he said. “Who knows for the long run?”
Residents and officials were particularly confused about South Arlington being on the list because the next nearest branch, in East Akron, had been shuttered and those customers had been directed to South Arlington.
Postal officials said they are trying to deal with declining mail volume and mounting costs related to future retiree health benefits.
Last week, the USPS announced that despite the typically strong holiday season, its quarterly loss had widened to $3.3 billion. At that rate, the agency predicted it would run out of money by October.
The U.S. Postal Service is seeking approval from Congress to eliminate Saturday mail delivery, raise stamp prices and reduce health-care and other labor costs.
Also at stake are roughly 100,000 jobs, part of a plan to save up to $6.5 billion a year by closing 252 mail processing centers and up to 3,700 post offices.
At the request of Congress, the agency agreed to wait until mid-May to begin closures so lawmakers would have time to stabilize its finances first.
Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown co-sponsored the Postal Service Protection Act, legislation seeking to preserve Saturday delivery and restrict closure of postal facilities. He said the post office can be more than just a place to drop off and receive mail.
“In many Ohio communities, they function as town centers,” he said.
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