Residents who have been fighting to save the Setauket Post Office will finally have their questions answered at a meeting set for Thursday at the Setauket Fire Department's Main Street firehouse at 7 p.m.
Community members have been concerned ever since they learned the historic Setauket post office is on . The U.S. Postal Service's local district manager and postal operations manager will be on hand at the meeting.
“Most importantly they’ll [the residents] have the chance to make clear the importance of this community place,” said Robert E. Reuter, the 1st vice president of the Frank Melville Memorial Park board. “It’s so much more than a post office, it’s a meeting place and it’s a historic, iconic setting.”
Back in August, of the circumstances the post office is facing. The rally included petitions and attracted dozens of people from the community in support of keeping the historic location open.
This Thursday, residents will also have the opportunity to have a key question answered – what will be the effect on the East Setauket post office on Route 25A if the one on Main Street is closed. The Main Street location helps decrease the traffic and parking problems at East Setauket, Reuter said.
“What’s really important to me is that it takes pressure off the East Setauket post office,” said Reuter.
Reuter said he remains optimistic that the U.S. Postal Service may change its mind after considering the importance of the building to the community. However, he reminds the community to remember that it is not the responsibility of the U.S. Postal Service to save a historic building.
Steve Hutkins, who runs Savethepostoffice.com, shares and analyzes instances of post office closures across the country.
“They have the capacity to close a very large percentage of the post offices they study,” Hutkins said.
The core issue of the possible closures boils down to finances. The U.S. Postal Service is required to pre-fund 75 years of benefits for retirees and future retirees over the course of 10 years, according to the Postal Accountability Enhancement Act of 2006. According to a statement made by the Long Island NY Area Local union, that piece of legislation is financially crippling the post office, but a bill the union supports, HR-1351, would provide some relief.
Hutkins warned that this process will likely go on for several more months.
“They [the attendees] are guaranteed to hear: no final decision has been made, we’re just talking about studying the closure,” Hutkins said.