Local

Ft. Bend Co. residents worried about possible closure of two small town post offices

Monday, September 24, 2012

Some folks in Fort Bend County are worried about how they'll stay connected via mail as two small town post offices are slated for closure.

If the offices close, they'll have to travel farther to mail items, even use post office boxes. But it's not a done deal yet.

The U.S. Postal Service is considering closing the Thompsons and Orchard post offices. The postal service has already closed more than 500 post offices nationwide. It says it wants to preserve small, rural post offices like this one in Thompsons. So it's asking residents to weigh in.

They are not the horses used for the Pony Express, but they graze near a modern-day post office that soon could be extinct just the same.

In the town of Thompsons, everyone gets mail at a P.O. Box.

"We have a lot of history out here. Most people don't even know we are here," said Rita Miller.

Miller has had hers since she was married in the 70s. The post office has been around a lot longer, since well before the turn of the century. It's part, however small, of what put Thompsons on the map. An address. A place 236 people call home.

"I would hate to see us lose our identity," Miller said.

But in an effort to cope with a nearly $12 billion budgetary shortfall, the U.S. Postal Service has identified hundreds of small rural post offices which could be closed.

The USPS is sending surveys to the communities, asking them what solutions they would support. A USPS spokesperson tells Eyewitness News they will only close post offices if 60 percent or more of those surveyed agreed to. Thompsons' mayor says no thanks.

"To go to the nearest post office would be approximately 11 miles," said Mayor Freddie Newsome Jr.

Other options include creating rural routes for roadside mailbox delivery. But that would also mean closing the post office and changing every address nearby to the next closest post office's city.

"You wouldn't have any way of knowing that we were here because we would have a Richmond address," said Miller.

She says it would be a blow to their identity. They plan to fight to keep the post office alive.

One other option that seems the most viable is that the USPS has suggested hours at rural post offices be cut in half to just four hours a day.

There are several public meetings coming up on this if your post office is affected.

Orchard Town Hall Meeting
October 23 at 5:30pm
Orchard Community Center
9714 Kindler St.

Thompsons Town Hall Meeting
November 7 at 5:30 pm
Thompsons City Hall
520 Thompsons Oil Field Rd.

You can also visit USPS.com here to get more information.

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