The United States Postal Service is looking for a new location in Amidon, and if a suitable place isn’t found, the small town may lose their post office.
By COLE BENZ | Herald Editor
The United States Postal Service is looking for a new location in Amidon, and if a suitable place isn’t found, the small town may lose their post office. The postal services have been operating in their current location on Main Street for more than 40 years, but ownership of the building recently changed, and the lease will not be renewed. The lease ends on Dec. 31 of this year.
Greg Shelton, Real Estate Specialist with the USPS, was present for a public meeting at the Slope County Courthouse on Tuesday, Aug. 30 to go over various options and hear concerns from the residents.
Shelton said there are three options: find a new building to rent, find land to lease and the USPS would bring in a modular building, or put up a Neighborhood Distribution Collection Box (NDBCU)—essentially an exterior post office box type setup.
A new location, be it a land lease or another building, would need to be within a two mile radius. If a space is found outside of the two mile radius, Shelton would have to return and hold another public meeting.
Shelton said at least a net of 500 square feet would be required from a building rental, with up to a 10,000 square feet area of land for a land lease. The modular, if that’s the option that’s available, would be provided by the postal service and Shelton said the building would not need sewer or water, just electricity.
Using a modular building would be ideal in keeping the post office in Amidon, but land is scarce.
“I don’t know of anybody who’s willing to lease land,” Shelton said. “If they want to step up and say ‘yes I will lease land to you’ then we’ll look at it.”
Finding someone to work the office has also been difficult. A person would need to commit to work two hours a day for six days a week.
After hearing the options and the obstacles the post office is facing, some residents at the meeting indicated that the NDCBU would be the best solution, with one saying “this way you can get your mail 24 hours a day…as far as I’m concerned get on the stick and get it done.”
Another resident voiced her disappointment on losing the post office, saying “I don’t want the post office to close, but the reality check is there aren’t many people that want to work for two hours a day six days a week.”
Shelton was asked if an NDCBU option is selected, would Amdion ever be able to get a post office again if a population boom hit, he said that wasn’t likely.
“Typically what happens, once we’ve settled on those boxes, then they terminate my node, and that’s it, we won’t be coming back,” he said.
If in fact the town opts for the NDCBU, Shelton hopes to get it installed and up and running by the end of October. The current post office would continue operations until the transition to the NDCBU was completed.
“The other facility would stay open, we would just do a transition to [the NDCBU],” Shelton said.
If residents have problems, or need services from a post office, they would need to contact the Bowman location. Postage and mailing supplies can be purchased online, and pickups can also be scheduled on their website. If a person doesn’t utilize the internet, they can just give the Bowman office a call and make arrangements.
The NDCBU would act like a post office box system, where each address would get a key to their box and would be able to access it whenever they needed. The setup would also come with parcel lockers for larger package deliveries.
Residents would not have box numbers though, they would simply use their physical, 911 address. The tentative plan for the courthouse, who owns multiple box numbers related to the different departments, would be to get their mail delivered in bulk right at the courthouse and be responsible for sorting it themselves.
At this point, the residents of Amidon have 30 days to contact Shelton with concerns or ideas regarding the post office. Written comments will be accepted until Sept. 29, 2016 to Greg Shelton at U.S. Postal Service, Attn: Greg Shelton-Amidon, ND, 200 E Kentucky Avenue, Denver, Colo. 80209-9950.
Following the 30-day period, Shelton would have to organize a lease agreement to place the NDCBU at the courthouse, if that’s the option selected. It will also have to be presented to the county commissioners, according to Slope County Auditor Lorrie Bazulsky.
Shelton said he will continue to keep the town informed through the mayor.
“I will keep the mayor informed as far as what we are doing,” Shelton said.
A letter on a final decision will be placed at the current post office.