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Norwich attempts to keep a post office downtown

Norwich - City officials enlisted assistance from the state congressional delegation Monday in an effort to save a downtown post office.

Mayor Peter Nystrom and City Manager Alan Bergren met with U.S. Postal Service officials Monday afternoon in U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney's downtown Norwich office. Courtney and representatives for U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Joe Lieberman also attended.

City officials are trying to reverse a decision announced in February to close and sell the historic Main Street post office building and move to the postal distribution center at the Norwich-Bozrah border. The move would take the city post office three miles outside of the urban center to an isolated, sparsely populated area.

City officials do not object to closing the large, obsolete building, but are pushing for a smaller retail post office in downtown.

Afterward, Nystrom said he was pleased with the meeting, and thankful for support from all three congressional offices.

Nystrom said Postal Service officials said any plans to close the building are contingent upon finding a buyer first. He said officials discussed the idea of opening a so-called Contracted Postal Unit in downtown. This would be run by a private vendor to sell stamps and hold post office boxes. Nystrom said he was told some of the units provide many essential postal services, possibly including passport processing.

"My office could put them in touch with those interested in operating a center," Nystrom said. "Access and service are our keen interests. The level of service is still in question. Our main concern is maintaining access to a post office downtown. I think they clearly got the message."


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