by Allison Deutschman
The U.S. Postal Service is looking for community input on the hours of the Youngstown Post Office.
This location among many others in Western New York is being reviewed as part of the POST Plan enacted in 2012.
A survey has been sent out to local residents to provide feedback on whether the YPO should reduce current window service hours from 7.25 hours to 6 on weekdays, as well as maintaining current Saturday hours or possibly discontinue some of its services entirely.
Only one response is allowed per address and the survey must be returned by July 16.
Respondents should keep in mind that responses may be accessible to the public.
More than 60 percent of feedback must indicate that the community would like a discontinuance study to go into effect for the USPS to take other actions such as closing the 14174 office.
"The resounding response was that communities said we would rather you modify the hours at our post office, rather than closing it. So the postal service stopped the whole initiative, took a step back and said 'Could we still save money by doing that?' " Western New York USPS Spokeswoman Karen Mazurkiewicz said. "The result is the POST Plan. Again it's a win-win in that the postal service gets much needed savings, but the community still has the opportunity to retain their post office, retain their zip code and in many cases, people feel, retain their identity."
There will be a meeting at the Youngstown Red Brick Village Center, 240 Lockport St., Wednesday, July 30, at 6 p.m. to respond to the general public's questions about the POST Plan.
Additional information on the USPS's efforts will also be provided.
The results of the survey will be discussed at the meeting and residents in attendance can offer input.
"Although survey results will be known and shared, the Postal Service will not make a final decision regarding this office until after the public meeting," according to the letter distributed by Michael Weimer, Western New York District Post Plan coordinator.
By prioritizing community input both through the meeting and survey results, the Postal Service is hopeful that it will be able to make an informed final decision.
If the response indicates that there should be a discontinuance of the YPO, the Postal Service is looking for local businesses to serve as contractor-operated postal retail units.
If the response indicates that the YPO should be maintained, these units could still operate with the assistance of YPO.
Mazurkiewicz suggested local retailers would benefit from increased traffic if they served as a contractor-operated postal retail unit.
Customers would also have access to yet another convenient location to purchase stamps, packaging etc.
From zip codes starting in 140 through 149, there are six coffee shops, mini-marts, libraries and more that are successfully providing an alternative location for locals to meet their post office needs.
On top of this, more than 400 retailers throughout Western New York sell stamps.
For more information on local business or organization involvement, visit www.about.usps.com/news/electronic-press-kits/expandedaccess/welcome.htm.