Post office closing sends town scrambling - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Post office closing sends town scrambling

by Bryan Goettel

WEST BRANCH (KWWL) - Tom Johnson takes the short walk every day to get his mail. But that walk is about to turn into a much longer drive.

"I mean they could have waited til maybe January to do this," said Johnson.

On Monday December 1st, at the start of the busiest mailing month of the year, the West Branch Post Office will close for at least two weeks to remove asbestos.

"This has been by far the most public reaction I've received on any topic since I've been in town," said city administrator Kyle Soukoup.

"They say it's only supposed to be for two weeks," said West Branch resident Dinah Cassabaum.  "But you know how two weeks can stretch into three weeks, four weeks, a month or two months."

Nearly three hundred people have post office boxes at the West Branch Post Office. For a town of just over two thousand that means more than ten percent of the population will have to figure out another way to pick up their mail.

The post office rents its space from the National Park Service. A new heating and air conditioning system requires removal of asbestos from the post office.

"And the other side of it is the politics that are involved in all this are kind of really ridiculous that they can't figure out something to do so that the people here in West Branch don't have to go all the way to Iowa City to get their mail," said Johnson.

Soukoup says the city looked into temporary locations like City Hall, but were told that wouldn't work for security reasons.

"Really at this point it's people scrambling to forward their mail to their neighbors or to somebody else in town," said Soukoup.

"We have a post office box, but I'm forwarding ours to our granddaughter," said Cassabaum.

The U.S. Postal Service is cautiously optimistic the inconvenience will be over by mid-December.

Online Reporter: Bryan Goettel

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