Raleigh mayor: Don't close downtown post office
Posted May 17, 2011 11:46 a.m. EDT
Updated May 17, 2011 12:47 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker asked the U.S. Postal Service on Tuesday to reconsider its decision to close Century Post Office, a 134-year-old facility at the corner of Fayetteville and Martin streets.
It's scheduled to close July 15.
Standing on the post office's steps, Meeker said he understands the USPS' need to economize, but said closing the building would be a mistake.
“In the 21st century, a post office that caters mostly to pedestrian traffic is a positive addition to any vibrant center city,” he said. “Offering a substitute facility a short distance from Century Post Office can in no way serve the purpose of this National Register Property.”
The USPS is planning to move its operations from downtown, where it has been since 1877, to the New Bern Avenue facility, "which is not convenient for the thousands of pedestrians who work in downtown Raleigh," according to Meeker.
“Raleigh appreciates that beautifully designed and built buildings have served us well and represent an investment in our people and their future,” Meeker said. “We want these architectural treasures to continue to be part of our daily lives. Raleigh appreciates that a building such as Century Post Office, that has served us daily through world wars, recessions and celebrations is essential to the fabric of who are.”
Century Post Office opened a dozen years after the end of the Civil War and "brought a tide of optimism that had been scarce in the streets of the Capital City," according to the City of Raleigh.
Meeker asked North Carolina’s two U.S. senators and Raleigh’s members of the U.S. House of Representatives for help.
Sen. Richard Burr sent a representative to Meeker's news conference Tuesday, as did U.S. Rep. David Price. U.S. Rep. Brad Miller has shared his official support of the city’s position with Meeker, according to the city.
Sen. Kay Hagan sent a representative and issued the following statement:
“I am concerned about the post office closures in North Carolina – including the latest news of the Fayetteville Street closures, which was decided without any public comment. The U.S. Post Office needs to eliminate inefficiencies, but it is not acceptable to close a post office without any local input."