July 24, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Sending a message

Maria Kacik | The Gazette

BRUNSWICK — At-large Councilman Pat McNamara has spent many Saturday mornings waiting in line at the post office.

Since the office was built more than 20 years ago, long waits for service and traffic in the parking lot outside the branch have become a growing problem, he said. That’s why he said he would like to see some upgrades to the post office signed, sealed and delivered in Brunswick.

“I try to go there and now it seems to be crowded at any time of day. That tells me right there that we’re under-serviced,” McNamara said.

Dolores Skalak, of Brunswick, waited two minutes at the post office, 3955 Center Road, Wednesday morning, even though there were four people in line in front of her. She said it was the fastest she has made it out of there. “It depends on what time I get here,” she said, noting sometimes she sees long lines at the post office. “You never know.” (Maria Kacik | The Gazette)

He also said the office’s parking lot is often full, with cars coming in and out of the lot often coming close to hitting each other.

“The parking situation is dangerous,” he said.

Ward 3 Councilman Joseph Delsanter, who’s also the city’s vice mayor, said the post office’s positioning poses a problem, too.

“The location of the post office is challenging to any commuter,” he said. “And it is restrictive in its ability to expand.”

A few years ago, McNamara and other city representatives began a letter-writing campaign to the U.S. Postal Service and highlighted how the city’s post office’s situation could be improved. In addition, McNamara and other officials have asked federal representatives for some support on the issue in the many meetings they’ve had with them in Washington, D.C.

But little has been accomplished, he said.

“It’s not that we’re met with resistance (from the postal service). It’s more obstinacy. They’re in a streamlining mode. They want to condense — not build bigger,” McNamara said. “We’re caught between a rock and a hard place in that sense.”

Victor Dubina, spokesman for the postal service, said the service began a new building freeze in October.

“Essentially the postal service is operating in the red,” he said. “We ended the last fiscal year $2.8 billion in the red. We had a decline in mail volume of 9.4 billion pieces” last year.

He said this year is projected to be worse, with an expected decline of 12 billion to 15 billion pieces of mail.

“If the economy doesn’t turn around and people keep paying bills online, we project losses to be considerably higher than last year’s,” Dubina said.

But McNamara and other city officials said they are going to continue to lobby for some kind of change at the post office, 3955 Center Road.

“The representatives are certainly aware of my discontent with (the postal service). Every time we go to Washington, (representatives) are more aware and we will continue to push,” said McNamara, who chairs City Council’s Economic Development Committee.

He said a post office that’s easier to deal with would be a boost to businesses in the area.

“For me, everything is economic development. And the construction of a new post office would be huge — more jobs,” he said. It also would make it easier for businesses to send out mail, he added.

Dubina said several stores in Brunswick sell stamps. In addition, he said the postal service is searching for an area business to contract with to provide some postal services, including mailing packages.

Contact Maria Kacik at (330) 721-4049 or mkacik@ohio.net.