ESCONDIDO — Many of the more than 50 residents and business owners that attended the Sept. 26 community meeting expressed their concerns and frustrations over the possible closing of the Post Office on N. Escondido Boulevard.
The closure study comes at a time when the USPS (United States Postal Service) has sustained $25 billion losses in the past six years, has low cash levels and no remaining borrowing capacity, according to Lisa Baldwin, senior operations manager for the USPS and who led the meeting.
The meeting, a procedural step in the closure study, was announced through almost 4,000 letters that were mailed out to every customer on the routes closest to the location in the 92025 ZIP code, and were placed in P.O. Boxes, according to Gail Cervantes, San Diego PFC Post Office review coordinator.
The notification of the meeting and closure study was also posted on the Post Office’s main entrance.
Though several of those attending said they never received notification, but only heard about the meeting from the postal employees at the site.
Lori Lascola learned of the closure meeting, she said, only when notified by one of the Post Office clerks.
Lascola uses the N. Escondido Boulevard location on a daily basis to send and receive her business mail, and to have to go to another Post Office location on Mission Avenue would be a matter of “time is money,” she said.
“I hear some of the other business people talk about it; so instead of it being a 20 to 30 minute wait it’d be more like 45 minutes to an hour, plus it’s basically going against traffic…so it would be a 20 minute drive, a 30 minute drive for me,” she said.
The N. Escondido Boulevard location has been operating on a month-to-month lease basis since the previous lease expired at the end of May.
The USPS is currently paying $22,500 per month to give them time to go through the discontinuance process, according to Don Smeraldi, manager of corporate communications for the USPS.
Prior to that, the monthly leasing fee was listed at $23,271, or at an annual cost of $279,257, according to numbers given at the community meeting. The Post Office has been at that location since June, 1993.
That site earned about $1.9 million in gross revenue last year, Smeraldi said, though added that they’re not disclosing the gross revenues for the other two Escondido locations on Mission Avenue and E. Valley Parkway, which are USPS-owned buildings.
Mayor Sam Abed, who sent a personal letter to the USPS in appeal to the possible closure, said that if the Post Office did close, it would have an impact on downtown as they work to create an urban living, pedestrian-friendly area there.
“So that urban living experience needs that kind of services, and the Post Office was a big part of it,” he said.
Abed said he was hopeful the community meeting served as a chance for the USPS to hear why they should keep that downtown location.
“We’re working with them,” he said. “I’d like to meet with them. I’ll probably ask to meet with the Post Office master and see if we can change their minds.”
The Post Office is staffed by four employees, all of whom were applauded for their service from patrons. Those employees would be transferred to the Mission Avenue site to help relieve the influx of users to that location.
The USPS said a closure study would begin on the Leucadia Post Office site once the Escondido study was completed.