WARNER ROBINS — The post office at 200 N. Davis Drive has received a one-year reprieve.
Warner Robins Mayor Chuck Shaheen announced Tuesday that the city has negotiated with the U.S. Postal Service to keep the North Davis Drive facility open one more year.
Postal customers received notice last month that the full-service post office was closing Friday.
Against the backdrop of the post office during a light drizzle, and before more than 30 residents who rallied to keep the North Davis Drive facility open, Shaheen made the announcement crediting a host of people from concerned citizens to congressional leaders.
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“This is a win-win outcome,” Shaheen said at the news conference across a side street from the post office.Shaheen noted that a telephone call placed by U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall, D-Ga., to U.S. Postmaster General Jack Potter was instrumental.
Marshall said in a telephone interview that the planned North Davis Drive closure resulted after an impasse was reached between those that own the building and the postal service. He said that Potter had the ability to address some postal regulations that those on district level could not in order for an agreement offered by the city to be considered.
The city offered to bridge the gap between what New Jersey-based Pine Hill Development wanted in rent and what the postal service was willing to pay, Marshall said.
Shaheen said later by telephone that the city agreed to pay $13,100, which will come from community development funds to keep the post office open one year.
At the news conference, Shaheen said it’s hoped that agreement can be worked out for the post office to remain at the North Davis Drive location. Another option would be to contract the service through a private company to keep the post office located on the north side of town but in a different building.
The mayor said the postal service also agreed to make $30,000 worth of improvements to the North Davis Drive facility.
Since the postal service announced plans to close the facility, a group of residents has circulated a petition, picketed the North Davis Drive location and contacted elected officials.
“That’s all we were hoping for — for some time so we can figure this out,” said JoAn Davis, chairman for the group, Concerned Citizens of Warner Robins.
About 2,000 signatures have been collected on the petition to date, she said.
Also, the mayor and council passed a resolution expressing concern about the facility’s closing. Shaheen said he made the announcement of the behalf of mayor and council.
Wayne Lowe, owner of Lowe Toyota and a member of First United Methodist Church, which is located across North Davis Drive from the post office, said he was concerned about potentially another vacant building on the north side of town.
Lowe said he believes a post office is essential to the revitalization of the area. That was a sentiment also expressed by Gena Vaughan, owner of Flamingo Follies at 145 S. Commercial Circle.
Jay Taylor, who owns Specialty Service Unlimited at 612 N. Davis Drive, said the North Davis Drive post office is “much more convenient for us than going to Russell Parkway.” The postal service indicated in its closure notice that all North Davis Drive services would be transferred to the Russell Parkway location.
Residents such as Ada Lee had noted that many seniors live in the area, and the closing would pose a hardship for them to travel across town in heavy traffic. Also, many in the area do not have transportation and walk to the North Davis Drive facility, Lee said.
To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.