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New London post office threatened by cutback plan

By Jennifer McDermott

Publication: theday.com

Published June 12. 2012 6:00PM   Updated June 13. 2012 10:57PM
Postal Service says closing building an option for savings

New London — The U.S. Postal Service is considering options for consolidation that include moving the home base of the city's letter carriers to Waterford and closing its current location.

But customer service would still remain in New London, said Christine Dugas, a Postal Service spokeswoman. Dugas did not know when a decision would be made but said the Postal Service is evaluating many of its large buildings to see if it can save money by consolidating operations.

"If the Postal Service did move the carriers and we were able to market the large building, we could potentially move the retail services to another New London location, but nothing has been finalized at this point other than that the concept could be possible," she said Tuesday.

Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio said he was happy the Postal Service was keeping some services in New London, according to Zak Leavy, executive assistant to the mayor.

The Postmaster General assured U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., that no post offices would be closed this year and the New London post office was not on the list of potential closures for next year, said Leslie Phillips, spokeswoman for the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

In a prepared statement, U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, said, "The Postal Service made a commitment not to move forward with closing facilities until after the Postal Service Reform bill is passed. This study undermines public confidence that the Post Office is abiding by its own commitment. Existing law requires the public be given an opportunity to be heard on any changes like the one this study examined. I intend to hold the Postal Service accountable and require that they do just that."

Dugas emphasized that the potential move was not a "done deal." The post office on Masonic Street is not currently on the market, she said. Employees in New London were told that a feasibility study was conducted.

"This is a big giant 'if.' If they decided to move forward, the Postal Service would first make sure there's an alternate location within the area," she said. "Customers wouldn't be going to Waterford for postal service."

Waterford First Selectman Dan Steward said he had heard rumors that some of the postal services would move to the town due to the cost of keeping up the building in New London, but that it would be premature to discuss the issue further.

The post office is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its classical revival architecture. The lobby boasts murals from the 1930s by New England artist Thomas La Farge, featuring scenes of a crew at work on a whaling ship.

j.mcdermott@theday.com

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