Postal changes set for Birdseye

Herald Staff Writer

BIRDSEYE — A probable new model for town postal service likely will include reduced window hours at the Birdseye Post Office and a village post office inside Birdseye General Store, 207 Ingle St.

That scenario came into focus Thursday after a communitywide meeting in the afternoon hosted by the U.S. Postal Service that was followed by a Birdseye Town Council meeting in the evening.

About 30 residents attended the communitywide meeting at Bethlehem Lodge, where U.S. Postal Service officials who are considering belt-tightening measures reviewed the results of 975 customer surveys that had been mailed to Birdseye-area residents.

Of 316 surveys returned, 90 percent of the respondents favored a realignment of hours as the best option for continued operations at the 201 S. State Road 145 post office.

Currently, window service is available at the post office from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4:15 p.m. weekdays and from 8 to 10 a.m. Saturdays.

After reviewing the surveys and taking into account USPS operational needs, residents were told retail hours likely will be 8 a.m. to noon weekdays. Total Saturday window service hours will not be reduced and access to delivery receptacles will not change as a result of the planned realignment.
The post office has 144 boxes that require keys to open that are accessible 24 hours a day.

Rick Minton, the postmaster at the Bloomington Post Office who conducted Thursday’s meeting in Birdseye, said a final determination on the new retail hours will be made by Thursday and the new business hours will go into effect 30 days later.

Business owner Clara Lyons, who attended the community meeting, briefed council members on the timetable later in the day at Town Hall.

Councilwoman Kelly Wiseman, who owns Birdseye General Store, shared at the council meeting that her store has been approved to serve as a village post office. Offerings such as stamps and flat-rate shipping boxes and envelopes at the general store will be in addition to those inside the traditional post office that will still operate at its current location, Wiseman indicated.

Wiseman said she won’t weigh packages but customers with mail and packages ready for shipping may drop them off at the general store, which is open 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. seven days a week.

The Postal Service introduced the village post office model as an alternate retail location for postal products and services in 2011. The Postal Service also has reduced the number of hours the post offices in Celestine, Dubois, Holland and Ireland are open.

Postal Service officials noted that residents who have post office business during hours the Birdseye Post Office is closed are invited to travel to the post offices in St. Anthony, which is 8.4 miles away; Celestine, which is 8.5 miles away; and Ferdinand, which is 17.4 miles away.

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