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Some postal boxes closed

June 28, 2004|by WANDA T. WILLIAMS

wandaw@herald-mail.com

In the past six months, the City of Hagerstown has lost 25 U.S. Postal Service collection mailboxes. A postal representatives cited low volume as the main reason for the closings.

"Boxes that don't generate the mail that needs to be generated have been taken out of circulation," Hagerstown Postal Service Customer Service Supervisor Bruce Rice said.

Rice said the Postal Service couldn't justify maintaining mail-collection boxes with fewer than 10 pieces of mail on some days.

Hagerstown Postmaster Richard Sheffield said his office posted closing notices that were up for more than two weeks and conducted a survey of area residents before the boxes were removed.

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Sheffield said a reduction in mail-collection boxes helps the postal service run more efficiently and keeps cost down.

Population shifts, vandalism and an increase in private outgoing mailboxes might account for a decline in traffic at mail-collection boxes across the city, postal officials said.

A mail carrier picks up several pieces of outgoing mail from residential mailboxes at Bethel Gardens apartments on Henry Avenue.

Not far away, a mail-collection box on the corner of Jonathan and Bethel streets was one of 25 mailboxes closed.

Weeks ago, some area residents expressed concerns about acts of vandalism at the mailbox.

Rice said vandalism can trigger a decline in usage by area residents if the word gets around.

He also said the Postal Service's main post office on Franklin Street hasn't received any phone calls complaining about the closing.

Residents in the Jonathan and Henry streets area still have the option of dropping outgoing mail at a nearby mailbox on the corner of Charles Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.

There also are several mail-collection boxes a few blocks away at the Postal Service's main office on Franklin Street, Rice said.

Rice said 90 outgoing mailboxes remain in the city. He said new collection boxes will be installed at locations where mail volume increases.

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