Locust Gap mail delivery will be curbside or cluster boxes
LOCUST GAP - Village residents met with postal officials Wednesday to discuss future mail delivery options for the community - well, all but one.
More that 40 residents jammed into the Locust Gap Fire Company building to learn which options are being discussed after the post office was closed. Residents will either receive their mail by individual curbside delivery or cluster box units. Home delivery to mail slots or boxes at a home's front door is not an option.
"I can tell with you with authority that door-to-door delivery is off the table," said Robert Varano, manager of operations programs for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). "As a policy, the U.S. Postal Service does not offer door-to-door delivery."
Many in attendance did not like that answer.
"We are the only part of Mount Carmel Township that does not get home delivery. You are not being fair to us," one resident said.
The hour-long meeting was contentious at times while Mount Carmel postmaster Curt Evert and Andrea Caraciolo, manager of post office operations, fielded questions from those gathered.
Locust Gap has been without local delivery since Jan. 24 when a frozen water pipe burst and damaged the post office at 274 Main St. Varano said Friday the post office would not reopen because the building's owner, Ed Sebastian, opted to not renew the lease with USPS.
The federal service is in the process of closing the post office and Wednesday's meeting was one of the steps of that work. Currently, Locust Gap residents have to travel to the Mount Carmel post office to get their mail.
While Caraciolo said they are still investigating possibly re-establishing the post office, residents learned it's the least cost-effective option.
It costs $18,000 to get a post office up and running, including properly inspecting and securing the building, Caraciolo said.
"That's not including the yearly lease and other costs," she said.
The other options, cluster box units - a free-standing, pedestal-mounted mailbox containing 8, 12, 13, or 16 individually locked mailboxes and parcel compartments - or curbside delivery, have their pros and cons.
"There are many elderly residents who may not be able to walk to the CBUs," said resident John Locklin. "Many times, snow could be pushed in front of them. I'm sure I, or any member of the older population, couldn't walk in a half-foot of snow for the mail."
"There are problems with parking in Locust Gap now," another resident said. "To do curbside parking, you would have to stop parking on one side of the street, and supervisors won't go for that."
Varano said plans are being made to expedite the decision to return delivery to Locust Gap, and a committee of three residents will consult with him during the decision process.
"The most important part in this entire process is that we do not want you to lose the Locust Gap identity, and you won't," Varano said.