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Post office talks continue

Bayside leaders say they fear the local post office may close and relocate to a nearby annex building near Lawrence Cemetery. Photo by Yinghao Luo
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Representatives at the U.S. Postal Service have agreed to continue negotiating with Bayside leaders before making any final decisions on the relocation of the post office next to the Long Island Rail Road station, U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside) said Monday.

According to Ackerman, the USPS was working with his office to keep the Bayside post office from closing its doors and moving to a nearby annex. The congressman confirmed last month that the postal service had plans to shut down the 212-35 42nd Ave. post office by the end of the year and move all operations to the annex building by the Lawrence Cemetery, at 41-29 216th St.

“As the USPS decides on whether to move forward with their plan to relocate the Bayside post office, I am hopeful and confident that postal officials will listen to the concerns I have expressed to them in our discussions and conclude that relocating this facility to an isolated and out-of-the-way spot is unwise for both them and the community,” Ackerman said.

Earlier last month, Ackerman said he learned that the postal service was considering closing the current Bayside branch near Bell Boulevard and immediately urged the agency to nix the plans. The congressman criticized the postal service, adding that a potential increase in traffic and lack of parking near the new location could have negative consequences for the surrounding community.

In July, USPS said the proposal, which should save the agency money, would not go through until 2013 and that all jobs would be preserved. In a statement, a spokeswoman said the Bayside post office was part of a routine review of the USPS system around the country.

“We are continuously observing postal facilities. It’s a healthy review of our resources that will best incorporate them into long-term plans for effective and efficient retail service,” the statement said. “It is prudent for us to look for ways to improve efficiency by making better use of space, staffing and operating processes. A lot of things are on the chalkboard.”

Ackerman said he has been working with the postal service to explore possible alternatives. The talks have been going well and the agency has been receptive to the congressman’s concerns, a representative from Ackerman’s office said.

“The location of the Bayside branch has served the area and postal service well for decades, and I am optimistic that we can reach a positive resolution that will allow the Bayside facility to stay where it is,” Ackerman said.

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at pcorso@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

Updated 6:25 pm, August 8, 2012
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