- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.Q6qPkwFC.dpuf Will Botanical Station Post Office (and 6 Others) Close? | Bronx News Networkbronx

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Will Botanical Station Post Office (and 6 Others) Close?

The discussion regarding the possible closings of seven Bronx Post Offices continues.

The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), an independent agency that exercises regulatory oversight over the US Postal Service (USPS), held a field hearing last Wednesday at Fordham University in order to make recommendations concerning the post offices in jeopardy.

The PRC does not manage postal services, but according to a spokesperson with the organization, “provides an advisory opinion and brings transparency to the public” pertaining to closure policies.

Last week, commissioners of the PRC heard the testimony of 11 witnesses, representing a range of interests including those of government officials, postal representatives, and private organizations both in favor and against the consolidation of postal services.

State Senator Jeffrey D. Kleim and Aurelia Greene, Deputy Bronx Borough President, both said in statements that the closures would create unnecessary hardships for citizens of the Bronx, many of whom depend on the postal services for all their banking needs. Greene affirmed that the seven offices in the Bronx account for 17 percent of all facilities nation wide.

“Of all the ingredients of a neighborhood, the post office is one the most relevant facilities to the local citizen,” said Greene. “ It is not only a service location for the distribution of mail but the most local representation of the government and how it serves the people.”

The Botanical Station, located on Webster Avenue in Bedford Park, which is heavily used by senior citizens and immigrants, had the most representation speaking on its behalf to keep its doors from closing.

“My office has received nothing but criticism from local residents who will be impacted by this proposal,” said Fernando Tirado, district manager for Community Board 7. “For these seniors (referring to the two senior centers and three senior citizen housing complexes located nearby), who are mostly on a fixed income and often have limited means to travel, this station is the only viable source for their postal services.”

Annelen Madigan, a social worker at Rose Hill Apartments, a low-income, senior housing complex just around the block from the station on Kazimiroff Blvd expressed her concerns, “I hope the reasons for closing are not discriminatory to lower income areas."

Tirado also questioned USPS claims it would save money by consolidating the Botanical services with those of the Fordham station. According to his understanding, the station was locked into a six-year lease and would be required, in accordance with the Postal Workers’ Union, to relocate all of its employees.

“What real savings are they offering?” he said.
William Grygus, who spoke on behalf of the USPS, stated that all postal leases have a sublease option.

Roberto Vayas, who is the Botanical Station’s lease holder and owner of the welding business next store, said he would have to check if they could legally sublease or not.

In support of current downsizing policies, Wendy Smith, who spoke on behalf of Publishers Clearinghouse, said, “Such appropriate reduction in operating reductions are critical to avoid accelerating the downward mail volume spiral that will persist if postage rates continue to increase in the near term.”

According to a PRC spokesperson, there is no specific deadline for the release of the official opinion of the PRC, but will likely be made public very soon. There will be another hearing held in Washington D.C. tomorrow.

The Norwood News wrote about the potential closing of the Botanical Station in August.

The Times had this story over the weekend.


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