The Columbia Waterfront requires its own post office. That was the message Community Board 6 District Manager Craig Hammerman sent to Postmaster General John E. Potter in an open letter on behalf of the postal services contract with Rita’s Dry Cleaners CPU on Friday.
After 17 years of service, owner Rita Farone was sent a notice from the American Postal Workers Union last week giving her 60 days notice that her contract was to be terminated. No explanation was provided for why the location was being closed.
"There is no clear rationale or justification for the decision to terminate services at this particular location," Hammerman wrote in his subsequent letter. "For that reason I felt compelled to write to you to request your reconsideration of this decision."
Hammerman went on to describe how the 257 Columbia Street post office, located between President and Carroll Streets, serves a community that is isolated from other resources due to being surrounded by major highways and a lack of public transportation. The closure would be a major inconvenience to a growing population, he said.
"We are hoping that if the Postmaster General were more familiar with the facts and circumstances surrounding this decision that they will see what a hardship it would be for this community to lose these vital services," said Hammerman when asked what he hopes the reaction to his letter will be. "Ultimately, we're hopeful that they will reverse their decision but we'll have to wait and see."
While there is currently no known online petition on behalf of Rita's, neighbors can add their names a to a growing list of signatures available at the Columbia Street post office. Owner Rita Farone that she plans to send it to the American Postal Workers Union soon.
Another way neighbors can get involved, Hammerman said, is to write letters themselves. "It may be worth the effort for interested parties to reach out to their federal elected officials [Member of Congress and U.S. Senators] to see if they would be willing to intervene on the neighborhood's behalf," he said, "I suppose additional letters to the Postmaster General couldn't hurt either."
A copy of Hammerman's letter and the original notice sent to Rita's Dry Cleaners are attached in a separate document.