January 4, 2013
A small Albemarle County community is rallying to save one of its oldest operations, as they learn some unwanted changes could be on the way.
The Greenwood Post Office, what some residents call the “heartbeat” of the community, could have its operating hours cut or be forced to move some of its functions, like mail sorting, to nearby offices.
Rumors started swirling around the town last spring. Since then, the Greenwood Citizens Council has initiated an effort to prevent any changes from taking place.
Residents say the modest, white building is more than a place to pick up their mail and buy stamps.
"It's just like a big family. I don't know how to explain it,” said Greenwood resident Patricia Stewart. “It's like a gathering place for everybody. You find out the news and what's going on, who's been sick, who might need help in the community and where you can help."
Residents say, while the United States Postal Service has not threatened to close it down, they fear any of the changes postal officials are considering could shortchange its success.
Cuts and modifications are becoming more common in rural towns, as the postal service works to dig itself out of record-breaking losses -- $15.9 billion dollars last fiscal year alone.
But Greenwood Post Office supporters say they don’t understand why their community staple is under consideration since it has historically turned a profit.
"We view ourselves absolutely as part of the solution to the Postal Service's financial problems, not part of their problem,” said Scott Peyton, a Greenwood resident and member of the Greenwood Citizens Council.
Peyton says he believes the postal service is not including the community enough in the decision-making process that affects about 600 county residents
"I feel as though the postal service itself is lumping the Greenwood post office in the larger group of all smaller, rural post offices,” says Peyton. “We think they should be viewing these facilities on an individual case-by-case basis."
Peyton and other supporters will get a chance to meet with postal officials face-to-face January 9 at a community meeting focused on potential cuts of both hours and days of operation. That meeting is open to the public and will be held at Emmanuel Episcopal Church at 5:30 p.m.