Sep 15, 2011 at 11:08 am
WAITE PARK, Minn. (KNSI) - St. Cloud could be about to lose its Postal Service procession facility -- the site on 10th Avenue South in Waite Park is on the list of 250 locations nationwide targeted for possible closure by the service Thursday.
The proposal was part of a sweeping list of possible charges announced for the struggling Postal Service Thursday by Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe in Washington D.C.
"We are forced to face a new reality today," Donahoe said. "With the dramatic decline in mail volume and the resulting excess capacity, maintaining a vast national infrastructure is no longer realistic."
SITE CLOSURE LIST: See the locations of all 250 possible U.S. Postal Service facilities facing possible closure in 2012
Waite Park's procession facility was one of four Minnesota facilities under consideration for closure along with Bemidji, Duluth and Rochester.
"We'll be taking a look at each one of them on an individual basis over the next few months, using a number of criteria like what kind of savings we could realize by making a change, do we have a transportation network in place in order to handle that mail volume, and in the case of St. Cloud, does the Minneapolis facility have the capicity to take on the additional volume and what does this mean for service to customers?" U.S. Postal Service spokesman Pete Nowacki said.
Nowacki said in addition to internal study, the Service would also be accepting public comment as well as holding a public meeting in St. Cloud to discuss the possible closure. No meeting date had yet been set, but Nowacki promised residents would receive a few week's notice of the meeting.
"Any decision (on closing) would probably come around the first of the year and any changes would happen some time next year," Nowacki said.
The closures were just a portion of the massive restructuring laid out by Donahoe, which also included reducing mail processing equipment by as much as 50 percent, dramatically decreasing the nationwide transportation network, cutting as many as 35,000 jobs and revising service standards for first class mail from its current 1 to 3 day delivery window.
"What we're proposing is to change that into a 2 or 3 day standard, which means overnight mail for just a regular first-class piece of mail, that's probably not going to happen anymore," Nowacki said.
Nowacki said it was not immediately known how many jobs would be lost if the Waite Park facility closed, but he said the Postal Service would work with employee unions to retain as many of those affected workers as possible.
The U.S. Postal Service, who reported losses of $8.5 billion last year, said the changes could save the organization up to $3 billion a year.