Postal Service plans to move Norwich office

Norwich - The U.S. Postal Service has made its preliminary decision to relocate the Main Street post office to a "yet-to-be-determined new location," but the City Council is poised to appeal the decision.

Mayor Deberey Hinchey received a letter dated Dec. 19 from Joseph Mulvey, Postal Service real estate specialist, announcing the decision that has been under consideration for nearly three years. Although in the past, postal officials had said they planned to move the current post office to the postal distribution center on Route 82 near the Bozrah town line, the letter made no mention of that location.

The letter stated only that the unidentified new location would be "within the same zip code area."

Officials also have said that no move would be made, and the Main Street post office would not close, until a buyer or lease tenant is found for the building. The Dec. 19 letter did not mention that provision.

Hinchey, however, will ask the City Council Monday to support a resolution to appeal the decision within the 30 days allowed for in the appeal process. The letter instructed the city to appeal to the vice president of facilities at a Milford, Mass., office.

Hinchey also will meet with Postal Service officials and U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, at 1 p.m. Jan. 22 at Courtney's Main Street office.

Norwich officials have supported the Postal Service's plan to vacate the expansive, historic building at 340 Main St., understanding the cost of maintaining the oversized facility. But city officials also have insisted that there be a new post office located in downtown, rather than on the outskirts of the city at the Route 82 facility.

Postal Service officials have expressed willingness to have a Contracted Postal Unit in downtown - a retail post office facility operated by a private contractor.

But even before news that a similar Contract Postal Unit located at a deli at Salem Four Corners closed suddenly this week, without notice to the Postal Service, Hinchey said she does not support that plan for downtown Norwich.

Hinchey would like the Postal Service to open a village post office in leased storefront space in downtown instead. That facility would offer full post office services, not just mail and package handling and stamp sales.

"To put a post office on Route 82 near the Bozrah town line is not going to help us at all," Hinchey said.

c.bessette@theday.com

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