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Potential Ovington post office closure angers Ridgeites

The Ovington post office is in jeopardy again.

The station, at Fourth Avenue and 68th Street, is one of 20offices in New York City and thousands more nationwide that couldclose due to U.S. Postal Service (USPS) financial struggles.

Since 2006, our mail volume has been declining alarmingly, andalong with that, the amount of people who come into the postoffices has been declining enormously, said Darleen Reid-DeMeo, aUSPS spokesperson. So therefore, as an organization, we have tobecome more efficient and more streamlined. This is one initiativeamong many to consolidate operations and save money.

USPS considers several criteria in determining which postoffices could be shut down, said Reid-DeMeo. Post offices withinfive miles of another post office, offices in areas where expandedaccess points – other places to purchase stamps or priority mailproducts – are readily available, and stations where customertraffic is declining could all be up for closure.

This is the second time that Ovington has been on the potentialshut-down list; the office remained open in 2009 after extensivepetitioning and protesting, according to a post office employee whodid not wish to be identified. The employee added that the50-year-old office made over $850,000 in revenue last year, so whyit has returned to the chopping block is a mystery.

Local politicians are also angered about the potential Ovingtonpost office closure.

A lot of folks in Bay Ridge depend on that post office andwouldn’t able to get to one that’s further away, said IlanKayatsky, press secretary for Congressmember Jerry Nadler, whorepresents the station and surrounding area. Every neighborhoodshould be able to have a reasonably close post office.

Nadler has made an official request to the U.S. Postal Serviceto keep the Ovington office open, according to Kayatsky.Councilmember Vincent Gentile has written to the Brooklynpostmaster, requesting the same.

The Ovington Post Office must remain open, and I will doeverything in my power to make sure of that, Gentile said. TheOvington office serves over 500 customers per day. And with the twonearest post offices both nearly two miles away in oppositedirections, it is essential that this location stays open.

Even in the age of email, a lot of people still rely on and use‘regular’ mail Gentile contended, adding, Not to mention thattraveling two miles to another post office is not an option formost seniors in our area.

State Senator Marty Golden agrees. If the Ovington branch wasto close, it would be a great disservice to many residents andpostal customers, he said. The closing of this post office willleave thousands of residents with only one option, the FortHamilton Station. We all know that the wait time there is alreadyfrustrating, so just imagine what the lines would be like in thefuture.

Residents expressed shock at the possibility.

If they close this post office, between 88th Street and 55thStreet, there would be no post office, said Mary Price, who hadjust emerged from the station. It’s outrageous. What, are they offtheir rockers?

I would have a fit [if the post office closed], added RidgeiteVeronica Higgins, who had also just come out of the post office.For senior citizens, it’s convenient. Why shouldn’t we have someconvenience? We need the post office.

Reid-DeMeo pointed out that there will be a period of 138 daysduring which USPS will post notifications in the offices consideredfor closure. Each of the offices should know their fate by October,she added, but that doesn’t mean that the next day, the doors willclose. It depends on what the study data identifies.

In the meantime, Ridgeites can call 1-800-ASK-USPS, to registertheir opposition.

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