On Chopping Block: 3,700 Post Offices

Struggling USPS plans downsizing
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 27, 2011 7:25 AM CDT
The United States Post Office that predates the American colonies and is on the Postal Service's list of branches that could close is shown July 26, 2011 in the Old City neighborhood of Philadelphia.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

(Newser) – The struggling US Postal Service could close 3,700 post offices starting in January, a full 11% of its retail operations and the largest downsizing in the agency's history. The targeted offices span 49 states. The exception: Delaware, which has only one post office for every 12,000 people. About 2,500 of those that may close will be replaced by a "Village Post Office": one postal clerk in a local shop, gas station, library, or other community building. "Village" sites would only offer basic services; for example, passports and money orders would not be available, the Washington Post reports.

Most of the offices targeted for closure bring in less than $27,500 annually but cost more than $100,000 to run. The planned closures could save $200 million per year, a drop in the bucket compared to the $8 billion the agency is expected to lose for the second consecutive year. Over the next decade, postal officials will review half of its 32,000 post offices for closure. For many in small communities, the idea is devastating: “It’s part of the culture of the town,” says one Chevy Chase resident. “It has a small-town kind of feel." Click for more upcoming changes from the postal service.

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